A move down to flyweight turned out to be just the change Jessica Eye needed.
The Ohio native took a four-fight losing streak -- and five out of her past six -- into her UFC St. Louis bout against Kalindra Faria on Sunday night.
And while the bout played out in precisely the sort of manner that can lead both sides to claim they should have gotten the nod, the fighter nicknamed “Evil” did just enough to convince two of the three judges to give her 29-28 scores for a split decision in a matchup of former bantamweights.
Faria (18-7-1) got the fight started with a bang, connecting with a wicked head kick from the left side which dropped Eye to the mat. Eye, however, spent most of the round’s remaining four minutes working for heel hooks, trapping her three times before Faria found escapes.
In the second, Eye had Faria’s back much of the time, and worked for a rear-naked choke. Both fighters had their moments in the third round, but neither came close to finishing.
Faria landed more significant strikes in the bout (23-14), but Eye had four submission attempts and three takedowns. This led Eye to make a rare appeal for more takedowns in her post-fight interview.
“Hey fighters, takedowns win fights,” Eye (12-6, 1 NC) said. “No one cares if you can punch.”
Faria dropped to 0-2 in the UFC.