Cynthia Calvillo earned her most significant win to date on Saturday at UFC Vegas, dominating former title challenger Jessica Eye to grab a unanimous decision in her flyweight debut. Having moved from Team Alpha Male to American Kickboxing Academy, Calvillo, who enjoyed plenty of success working from back mount, is now well in the title mix after downing the division’s number one ranked contender. While the co-main event featured Martin Vettori submitting Karl Roberson in double-quick time, let’s take a look at six fights which should happen next.
Order UFC 281
Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira is tonight! Watch every UFC 281 fight here.
- Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira
- Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili
- Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler
Cynthia Calvillo-Katlyn Chookagian
Although Calvillo did everything asked of her and more at the weekend, completing four takedowns and passing guard eight times, she may have to wait for her title shot. Valentina Shevchenko is set to defend her belt against Joanne Calderwood, so perhaps Calvillo could meet Katlyn Chookagian next. Ranked number two, Chookagian is one of the smartest fighters around and has already bested the likes of Calderwood and Jennifer Maia. At 5 foot 4, Calvillo is far shorter than most flyweights but that would perhaps aid her takedown entries against the rangier Chookagian.
Jessica Eye-Lina Lansberg
Compounding her defeat at the weekend, Eye was accused by Calvillo of missing weight by more than the stated .25 pounds. Indeed, Saturday was the second time on the bounce that Eye has missed the 125 pounds limit so maybe it’s time for her to move back to bantamweight, where she bested luminaries such as Carina Damm and Leslie Smith. Lina Lansberg, ranked eleven, would be a good benchmark thanks to her prominent striking in the clinch and astute gameplanning.
Marvin Vettori- Krzysztof Jotko
If there’s a way to shut up your rival, finishing them with a rear naked choke in four minutes and seventeen seconds will do the trick. That’s exactly what Marvin Vettori did to Karl Roberson, peppering his man with strikes on the ground before sinking in a lovely belly-down choke. Krzysztof Jotko could be next for the Italian middleweight. While both are wild strikers who lead with power punches and spinning raids, Vettori would have the advantage on the ground. It would be thrilling to see if Vettori could submit the Pole and gatecrash the top 15.
Karl Roberson-Gerald Meerschaert
With that, Roberson is left with a third UFC defeat and a record of 9-3. He’ll be unable to secure a ranked opponent for now but in terms of entertainment value and a test of his credentials, he should look no further than Gerald Meerschaert. Knocked out by Ian Heinisch at UFC 250, the Duke Roufus-trained warhorse will be keen to get back in the win column and could cause Roberson trouble with his diverse arsenal of kicks, particularly to the body. For sure, this one would have fight of the night written all over it.
Charles Rosa-Alex Caceres
By boxing his way to a unanimous verdict over Kevin Aguilar on Saturday, Rosa rebounded from his May defeat to Bryce Mitchell and built up his ledger to 13-4. A win over Alex Caceres, a crafty striker who offsets opponents with his jab, would help Rosa towards the top 15 at featherweight and represent a win over a never-say-die veteran. Fighting from a side-on stance with a decent guard, could Rosa hurt Caceres on the feet? Time will tell.
Andre Fili- Zubaira Tukhugov
Scoring the 21st success of a career which began eleven years ago, Fili inched past Charles Jourdain at the weekend by split decision, forcing the action and going to the well with head kicks and two-three punch salvoes. Next up for him at 145 pounds, let’s see how he’d get on against Zubaira Tukhugov. The Russian, a student of American Top Team, is a mean kickboxer with a solid grounding in pankration and sambo. Given that his only defeat in the UFC was split decision against Renato Moicano, back in 2016, he’d certainly provide Fili with an acid test.
Alistair Hendrie is a freelance writer for The Body Lock MMA. He has previously written for Mirror.co.uk and Fighters Only. Check out his Kindle book, Fight Game: The Untold Story of Women's MMA in Britain, featuring interviews with Rosi Sexton, Joanne Calderwood and more.