This main card bout features two top-ten ranked flyweight women, each looking to earn bounce-back wins, and each 1-2 over their own respective last three fights. Jessica Eye has seen nothing but stiff competition since 2018. Over that span, she has earned decision wins over Kalindra Faria, Jessica Rose-Clark, Kaitlyn Chookagian and Viviane Araujo, and suffered losses at the hands of Valentina Shevchenko in their June 2019 title fight and, most recently, Cynthia Calvillo in a main event this past Summer.
Bad Mofo Jojo Calderwood is 3-2 since 2018, also defeating Faria but losing by decision to Chookagian. Her most recent loss came at the hands of Jennifer Maia by first round submission, a fight Calderwood admittedly wishes she hadn’t taken. She was in line to be the next challenger to Shevchenko’s flyweight title, but instead allowed Maia to steal the opportunity.
Calderwood is a very well-rounded fighter who has multiple ways to win fights, and is comfortable anywhere the fight goes. She’s was 19-2 in pro muay thai before transitioning to MMA, and her grappling has vastly improved in recent years. She’s an intelligent striker who has a balanced attack with all eight limbs. She’s effective in both stances and fights behind her teeps and jabs.
Calderwoods striking mirrors her overall game, in that she is a very balanced fighter and a very balanced striker. She has great boxing fundamentals and attacks equally with her kicks. The kicks go to all three levels, and she’s comfortable using them to keep her opponents moving in and out. She can change pace from leading the action to counter-striking, but she is always keeping pressure on her opponents.
She looks to throw two and three-strike combinations before moving back out of range. She has great rhythm and can change pace from just touching her opponents with volume to throwing power shots in the pocket. When Jojo is flowing and in rhythm, she’s very tough to keep up with. And just when her opponents think they’ve caught up, they get dumped to their backsides.
Calderwood usually does some of her best work in the clinch, where she lands brutal knees and elbows, but has done a lot of her best work on the canvas in her more recent fights. She has shown some improved wrestling and great control skills on top, along with some vicious ground and pound. She finds a lot of takedowns by catching front kicks.
She’s also comfortable working from her back, having shown some very smooth jiu jitsu as of late. She can be a bit too comfortable on the ground, which cost her the fight against Jennifer Maia and, ultimately, her title shot. Calderwood is a blue belt in jiu jitsu and has one win by submission, though she has generally looked to be improving on the ground in each of her fights.
Calderwood tends to struggle against fighters with faster hands than her. While she is an intelligent striker with great technique, she doesn’t have the fastest striking in this division. Her traditional muay thai stance inhibits her head movement and leaves her torso an open target. Her grappling offense has improved, but her takedown defense has been almost nonexistent.
Jessica Eye is an aggressive and forward-moving fighter with strong boxing fundamentals. She fights behind her jab and sets up hooks as well as straight punches with her constant head movement. She mixes up striking to the body and up top, She throws two and three-strike combinations, often times leading to the body.
She works in low kicks and some kicks to the body, but is much more dangerous with her hands. She has great striking speed and some solid power in her hands. She has very good head movement and impressive footwork. She cuts off the octagon and rarely ever gives up outside position with her feet. She looks to pressure her opponents into throwing first and countering their shots.
She is big and strong for 125, and can hold her own in the clinch, landing knees to the legs and gut. She has solid takedown defense, and it takes a well-timed level change to get her to the canvas. From her back, she has a cautious guard and does very well in avoiding damage until she can reverse position or get back to her feet.
As a striker, Eye fits the description of the type of fighter that Calderwood usually struggles against. She is susceptible to forward-moving pressure from fighters with faster hands than her, and Eye is just that. Calderwoods head does not move off the center line, and she’s going to have to change her angles and counter which she just hasn’t shown the ability to do.
Calderwood’s best chance for a win is to mix it up with her grappling, but Eye is just as good in the clinch and on the ground as Calderwood is. This is going to be an interesting, back and forth fight, but Jessica Eye is a stylistic problem for Calderwood and will likely out-strike her on her way to a decision victory.