Recent title challengers Jennifer Maia and Jessica Eye are set to square off at UFC 264. Maia’s most recent fight was a decision loss to Shevchenko and Eye’s most recent fight was also a decision loss to Calderwood. Despite their recent losses, both women are ranked inside the top #10 of the flyweight division and are hoping to propel themselves back into the title contender conversation with a win.
Fighting out of Chute Boxe in Brazil, Maia is a hard-hitting Muay Thai specialist. She excels in the clinch where she can unleash sharp elbows and devastating knees. From the clinch, Maia looks to drag her opponent down and inflict effective ground and pound or her BJJ game. Of her 18 wins, 9 have come by finish.
Eye has quick and technical hands which are showcased by her sound boxing game. With only 3 of her 15 wins coming via KO, and not winning by KO since 2014, Eye relies more on overwhelming her opponents with volume rather than stunning them with powerful strikes.
Maia vs. Eye betting odds
Maia opened as a 2:1 favorite over the Xtreme Couture product, Eye. Maia is still a -200 favorite with Eye at +160 on the comeback.
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Maia vs. Eye Breakdown
If this fight were happening just two years ago, I think it would be much closer. But, now that Eye is 34-years-old and coming off back-to-back losses, it looks like she might be over the hill. Meanwhile, Maia is still in her prime, finished Calderwood in impressive fashion, and was able to win a round against Shevchenko en route to a decision loss.
For Eye to win, she’ll have to eke out another decision victory. Winning close decisions is not foreign to Eye, 5 of her 11 decision wins have been split decisions. Normally, between her cardio and output, a peppering approach is a viable path to getting her hand raised.
Unfortunately for fans of “Evil,” Maia has the cardio and output to go the distance. In fact, the stats on both women are strangely similar. Eye averages 3.76 significant strikes/minute at 37% accuracy. Meanwhile, Maia averages 3.34 significant strikes/minute with 39% accuracy. In short, Maia can match Eye’s typical path to victory; and, she has a distinct advantage in power and submissions. While I don’t see Maia getting the finish, Eye will have to be wary if she decides to shoot and look to grind out a decision.
Maia vs. Eye Prediction
Maia hasn’t been finished since 2012 and Shevchenko is the only one who has finished Eye since 2014; so, this fight is likely to see the judges. Given some recent questionable judging decisions, seeing the scorecards is worrisome for anyone putting down money. But, Maia is younger, stronger, more dangerous, and can match the cardio and volume of Eye. She should win a decision.
Prediction: Jennifer Maia to win via decision
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How to watch Jennifer Maia vs. Jessica Eye
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Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.