UFC Betting Pick: Cynthia Calvillo vs Lauren Murphy

UFC 254 is loaded with huge fights and will, of course, the main card will be capped off by Khabib Nurmagomedov defending his Lightweight World TItle against Colorado’s Justin Gaethje.

One of the less interesting fights of the evening is between Cynthia Calvillo and Lauren Murphy, two women who got their start in mixed martial arts at a later age than most, especially the two guys in the main event who have been at it since birth.

Not interesting?

Then why are we talking about it?

Well, I can’t exactly say it’s not completely interesting from every angle.

I like the betting angle, not crazy over it but I do feel good about one of these two women.

Lauren Murphy got her start in mixed martial arts and fighting when she was taking her son to his first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class.

She didn’t want him to go at it completely alone so she joined in.

And as they all say, the rest was history.

That isn’t entirely true, though, because the rest is still the present and the future for Lauren Murphy.

On Saturday, October 24th, 2020, she will have the biggest fight of her life.

After dropping 5 of her first 7 fights inside the Octagon, Lauren Lucky Murphy has since won 3 fights in a row including her most recent victory over fellow elder UFC stateswoman, Roxanne Modafferi.

The Alaska native is very strong in her upper body which most women naturally aren’t.

This is how she managed to stay upright in the clinch against a Japan-trained Judo black belt in Modafferi.

Lauren is very strong in the clinch.

She might have an edge there against Calvillo but not by much.

Cynthia looks better and better every time she steps out there and her style matches up about as well as you can with that of Flyweight Women’s World Champ, Valentino Shevchenko.

She is one of the quickest girls in the weight class. She was fast at a buck fifteen but at 125, she hits people or is in on their legs quicker than you can say her nickname.

Never heard her nickname before.

That’s because she doesn’t have one.


Cynthia is a talent and Lauren is a brute.

I’m sure you have an idea who the favorite is but let us first take a look at the tale of the tape and note any glaring differences.

Cynthia Calvillo Lauren Murphy
Fight Record: 9-1-1 Fight Record: 13-4
Age: 34 Age: 37
Height: 5’4” Height: 5’5”
Reach: 64” Reach: 67”
From: San Jose, California From: Anchorage, Alaska
Fight Camp: American Kickboxing Academy Fight Camp: MMA Lab

Cynthia Calvillo’s only defeat came against a woman who beats about 80% of the girls she fights and takes down 90%.

Carla Esparza has always been a tough out and also a strong betting horse if you will.

I would favor Calvillo in a rematch should these two women ever fight again.

Besides that fight, she is undefeated in her career with a draw against the long and lean excellent striker, Brazil’s Marina Rodriguez, who also has stellar takedown defense.

I listed AKA as Cynthia’s gym as I think it is her home base after getting her start in Sacramento at Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male.

But she trains a lot of different places.

I saw where she was at Xtreme Couture for sparring once on her Instagram.

That is the spot. I tell ya.

With the UFC holding at least half of their fights in Las Vegas now at the Apex, Xtreme Couture has blown up even more than they already have.

It’s a great gym, obviously.

She puts in time at the UFC Performance Institute like most fighters who have the opportunity.

That is one heck of a facility. It’s not terribly hard to get inside either.

I’m sure you could finagle your way in the door if you spent just a week or two training at one of the big gyms out there, preferably at Randy’s Xtreme Couture.

Lauren Murphy trained in Houston for a while under the guise of Bob Perez who also coaches heavyweight Derrick Lewis.

She is now at a better camp for mixed martial arts, in my opinion, working with the famed John Crouch at the MMA Lab in Phoenix, Arizona.

If you look at Lauren’s 30-fight win streak, it’s not really that impressive.

Mara Romera Borella was her first victim but she has just been cut by the company for four straight losses including 3 by way of finish.

Then, Lauren and Andrea Lee went to a split decision.

Andrea Lee has a really difficult story with her former boyfriend and trainer physically abusing her and I know she is pretty with a bright smile.

But, she is quite overrated.

You saw it in her last fight with Roxy. Lee was something like a 3 to 1 favorite at one point and Modafferi beat her easily, for the second time.

Then, Lauren fought Roxy and we talked about that win.

Solid victory but she matches up well against Rox and the Happy Warrior is one of the only women in the UFC’s Flyweight Division who are older than Murphy.

Speed kills, man, and I think Cynthia Calvillo has a massive advantage in that department.

Let’s take a look at the betting odds for this fight.

BetOnline.AG didn’t have the price we were looking for – for once.

So, we went with the generous folks over at Bovada.LV for a better line.

Cynthia Calvillo Moneyline:
Lauren Murphy Moneyline:

The round totals or the fight goes to a decision or not props aren’t released yet, unfortunately.

That isn’t the angle I wanted to take on this fight anyway or I would have just waited until those odds come out in a few days.

Cynthia Calvillo should be able to use your superior boxing, footwork, speed, and quickness to out strike her opponent, Lauren Murphy at UFC 254 next Saturday, October the 24th from fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

Should is such a bad word, though. I regret using it.

I don’t like to say I “expect” anything to happen either.

That is another one we could all do without in life.

Lauren Murphy does have good takedown defense at 67%.

Most of the ones she is able to defend are from the clinch where she can use her upper body strength advantage to balance out the technique deficit like she had w Roxy.

Borella took Lauren down.

I’m pretty sure the 48% takedown accuracy of Cynthia is good enough to shoot in on the legs of Lauren and get her to the mat at a 50% rate.

From there, Calvillo is quickly turning into a master of the back take and subsequent mata leoa aka the lion kill or rear naked choke as we know here in ‘Merica.

Path to Victory

Cynthia Calvillo

Cynthia has options.

I think she can take the approach of Katlyn Chookagian and box with Murphy or she can go the route of Sijara Eubanks and take the fight to the mat, and either win from top position or get the tap from not so “Lucky”.

Lauren Murphy

I really don’t see much here.

Lauren could possibly push Cynthia up against the fence and use her strength to gain some control time on the judges’ scorecards then use her reach advantage to score a few before crashing the distance to clinch again.

Those are her two spots she could have an advantage.

I don’t think she is going to take Cynthia down but if she does, it will be a trip from the clinch.

  • Calvillo is just too scrambly to lay there.
  • Lauren will have to win a decision, I believe.

Her knees aren’t too bad. That’s how she got Borella out of there.

A well placed and timed knee from the plum defending the body lock is another route to victory for Lucky.

I think she is really going to have to earn that nickname to get the win over Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 254, though.

I cap Calvillo at (-300). That’s actually where the betting odds opened and people figured, it’s women’s MMA with more parody than the men’s divisions so why not take a shot on a big dog who has won 3 in a row…

Foolish, in my opinion – that is just dumb money.


Cynthia Calvillo comes out there and does her thing.

She is younger and I don’t know many fighters on the entire UFC roster who fight with more hunger and ferocity than this woman.

I’m Always Like:
Somebody give that lady a cupcake, a slice of pizza, something…

She fights like she is homeless and hungry and because she likely trains the same way, Cynthia Calvillo is a visibly better version of herself every time she steps foot inside the Octagon.

I don’t know if she finds the submission on Lauren Murphy who has never been tapped out but I am pretty darn confident that Cynthia Calvillo can beat Lauren Murphy standing up and she can also take her down and work her over there.

We will probably see a little bit of both from the California native.

My Pick
Cynthia Calvillo

In Conclusion

I love to hear athletes talk about being excellent or great at what they do.

Even more so, though, I love to hear coaches give their take. They are the experts because the individual only knows himself but an experienced coach knows how to reach hundreds and maybe even thousands.

This goes beyond sports.

Excellence in anything is sexy.

The USA Women’s Soccer Team…forget about it.

They might as well be Victoria’s Secret models to me.

Cynthia Calvillo is a special fighter.

There is a reason she is 9-1 and could be fighting for a world title in 2021.

She is a better mixed martial artist than she was last week.

Many Fighters Can Say:
Hey I’m a better fighter than I was last year.

Cool story bro. You’re supposed to be.

Cynthia is better than she was at her last fight. She is better than she was last month and she is better than she was last Tuesday as well.

It is that attitude that carries her and the more we see of Cynthia, the more it shows.

Her odds may come down more, so waiting a few days probably wouldn’t hurt too bad but then again, I don’t really see too many paths to victory for the underdog here.

(-225) is a good number for Cynthia here if you want to go ahead and take it.

I’m guessing her betting odds will probably be back up around (-270) by fight time, though.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.

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