Two transplant Las Vegans, Syndicate MMA’s Joanne Calderwood and Xtreme Couture’s Jessica Eye, will fight on the main card this weekend at UFC 257. That is a bit surprising because you have much higher talents that are in or approaching their prime on the undercard.
And this isn’t because there is only one women’s fight on the night. There are actually 3. Juliana Pena looks to rebound from her shocking guillotine defeat at the hands of Germain de Randamie in a very interesting stylistic matchup against Olympic wrestler and former title challenger, Sara McMann. That fight is on the early prelims. We also get to see the seemingly always smiling mat brat Amanda Ribas fight fellow Brazilian rising star Marina Rodriguez in a clash of opposing styles. I might have to go with the grappler in this matchup. Marina only took up Muay Thai several years ago and while it is that much more impressive how far she has been able to come, Amanda was raised on the mats and essentially grappling as soon as she took her first steps.
Unfortunately for us, the sportsbooks agree about Amanda. They opened her up at (-270) and now she is an even 3 to 1 favorite. We may be able to fit her into a parlay, though, possibly with The Notorious Conor McGregor.
We will be flooding the internet this week with fight picks because the UFC currently has 26 mixed martial arts bouts scheduled for the next 5 days. The 24th fight of the week will be between a couple of UFC vets, Scotland’s Jojo Calderwood and the Ohio born and raised Jessica Evil Eye.
I have a great deal of respect for both of these women and what they’ve been able to do in their mixed martial arts careers, particularly inside the Octagon. Joanne has had more than half of her pro fights under the UFC banner and Jessica can say the same.
There aren’t as many women out there fighting professionally in mixed martial arts as there are men and it hasn’t been going on for as long so there is a natural evolutionary skill gap.
I get that but when people are just looking at a female fighters’ record and they see someone like Sijara Eubanks, for example, who is 6-6 and they think she shouldn’t be in the UFC. A lot of these women, especially the ones in their 30s like these ladies, have fought the majority of their pro fights at the highest level.
The betting odds for this one are pretty even but I think they are off slightly and we have an edge on the sportsbooks. BetOnline.AG has said odds for us so let’s look at the UFC 257 betting odds and make a prediction for Calderwood vs Eye.
Jessica Eye (-120) Joanne Calderwood (+100)
Hmm…Joanne Calderwood throws a lot of volume and Jessica doesn’t. That is the first thing that comes to mind here along with the fact that the Scot has more pipes in her toolbag than her Southwest Vegas rival Jessica Eye.
I keep pumping this up like the two women hate each other but it is probably all love as the two have both been fighting in the UFC for over 6 years. I like both teams quite a bit.
Syndicate was my home when I was there and John Wood is a mastermind in the sport of MMA. Eric Nicksick has mostly taken the reigns for the UFC guys that are surging right now but he will always tell you that Jessica is as much of a priority as anyone.
Those two seem to have a very solid coach and fighter relationship. The same can be said and plenty more for Joanne and her coach. They are now engaged to be married!
John, the former boyfriend of Jenna Jameson, yes Tito’s ex and possibly the most famous porn star ever, is not the guy I saw Joanne settling down with.
I don’t know her. She came after I left but just listen to her speak one time and you’ll love her forever. She has the sweetest voice and outside of Mike Tyson or Anderson Silva, the most non-threatening tone and demeanor you have ever heard.
Okay, so both women have great relationships with their coaches and cornermen albeit with completely different boundaries but hey, life is short and if you fall in love, you fall in love.
On a technical level, I believe Joanne is the slightly better fighter. Jessica specializes with her hands but hasn’t really been able to get any other facets of her MMA game going in her fights. She has good takedown defense but I don’t think that will be an issue against the Muay Thai stylist Calderwood.
Soon, she will be Joanne Calderwood Wood. I don’t think it matters, though, as Jojo has always shown heart, smarts, and a high level of striking technique in her fights.
The Thais would say “Jai soo” which means good heart. That is everything to the Thai people and something most of the world needs right now and I see it in Jojo for sure. She carries herself and fights like a Thai fighter and I can say that without any reference to her technique.
She utilizes the teep or foot jab better than most anyone in mixed martial arts as well as mixing up the levels of her kicks. Joanne has long legs and if she can keep Eye on the end of them, it’s going to be a long night for the Evil one.
Should Jessica get on the inside, though, and make this a boxing match, I believe she has the edge. We are fighting in a larger Octagon which should help Jojo but not significantly. This is Muay Thai vs boxing, essentially.
These two women are virtually the same age. Only 6 months sets them apart with Jojo hitting the 35 mark last month. They are the same height but Calderwood will have a 1 inch reach advantage in the arms and more than that with her legs.
The significant strikes landed statistic is where we see a major discrepancy. Jojo lands more than 6 significant strikes per minute at a 48% clip. Okay, she is no Max Holloway or anything but that is pretty freakin good.
I won’t even get started on Max. I picked Calvin but Holloway forced me to enjoy the fight because I knew I was witnessing something truly special.
We can watch this @BlessedMMA moment on loop for days 🤯
— UFC (@ufc) January 17, 2021
That is the equivalent of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game.
I would have said Kobe’s 81 but Max has the record and so does Wilt.
Jojo with 6 a minute and Jess comes in landing 3.6. That is going to be very difficult for Jessica Eye to overcome. What makes the sportsbooks have this one lined so closely, then?
Eye absorbs 3.5 with a 58% defense rate while Joanne is a bit more Thai in her approach to MMA standing and trading more with her opponents and absorbing 4 per fight. She still has a lead in strike differential on her opponent, though, of more than 2 strikes per minute.
Takedowns are another thing. Joanne doesn’t shoot that much but she will catch a kick and take you down with the quickness. She averages 1.9 takedowns per 15 minutes and Jess just .40 per 15.
Both of their takedown defense numbers are similar at 56%. Jessica Eye doesn’t throw a lot of kicks so maybe she won’t get taken down but then she is trying to match 8 weapons with 2 or maybe 4 if she breaks out the blades.
Another check mark for Jojo here.
I’m still not sure what the books are thinking here.
Maybe Jessica has a strength in that area. It is submissions and Jessica Eye has never submitted another fighter in any of her 13 UFC fights.
I think they are looking at the Vivi Araujo fight and they see her as a better kickboxer than Jojo and Eye was able to win a decision over the Brazilian even though she was taken down a couple of times.
Eye had her out-sized in that fight. Evil came down from 135 and Araujo certainly has a small frame for Flyweight. These two women are strikers and I think they will each be happy to trade.
Hey, I said that about the Carlos Condit vs Matt Brown fight this past weekend and those two ended up “selling out” for the takedowns and control to win that fight. I liked it. We got to see weakness vs weakness and more often than not, fighters are scared or smart enough to stick to their big guns in competition.
Jessica Eye has some big wins. She beat Katlyn Chookagian who beat Jojo.
Both women have lost the same way and that is being taken down and controlled by stronger wrestlers but it was Jojo who took down Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Jennifer Maia in a title contender fight and promptly got armbarred.
I picked against my team in that fight and it paid off. I don’t see either woman submitting the other in this fight, though. If Jojo is able to secure a couple of takedowns, I feel that much better about her chances but she might not get too many opportunities against Evil Eye who prefers to party pugilistically.
Calderwood is the side here. I think we have seen more regression from Jessica Eye than we have Jojo at this point in time. Maybe Calderwood looks worse than ever this week but I don’t think so.
She has such an incredible stable of lady teammates to work with at Syndicate. I know Couture’s has a great group as well but just to be able to work with Roxanne Modafferi and soak up some of her BJJ, Judo, and overall MMA knowledge is a blessing.
The ladies absolutely don’t take a back seat at Syndicate. I believe that Joanne throws a lot more and lands a lot more than Jessica Eye. I realize that Katlyn Chookagian did too and she lost.
Joanna did outland Katlyn by 40 significant strikes and take her down 3-0 but I’m going with Kermit on the none of my business thing there.
This will force Jess to either retreat or come forward and if she presses, then she is giving Calderwood the opportunity to rack up the numbers.
1.5 units on the Scot!
I downplayed the importance of the fight and then talked about it for a while. I really had to do my best to look under the bed and even in the black hole under your car seat for reason as to why this fight is lined so closely.
They looked at the Chookagian fight but it doesn’t seem like they watched the fight because most people had Calderwood winning that one.
Eye’s feints with her hands she uses to freeze up and slow down her opponents won’t work as well if Jojo can keep her at the end of those lengthy legs.
I think Jessica Eye might be more physically imposing and strong but it isn’t by much but the clear edge in kickboxing goes to the Scot.
- She has the tools
- the numbers
- Plus is just so darn adorable when she speaks.
You can’t tell me the judges don’t have that in their subconscious. We all have crap in there that screws up our decision making.
Get your bets in now, guys, because have a feeling this line will be on the move as the week progresses and likely in the direction of the Scot.