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UFC Phoenix results: Cynthia Calvillo wins tactical battle with Cortney Casey

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

If you’ve been paying attention over the past few years, you may have noticed that Cortney Casey fights tend to follow a certain pattern: The Arizona native shows quite a bit of heart and toughness, but may or may not have done enough to defeat her opponent, and no one’s quite sure who won the bout until the scores are announced.

Such was the case with the strawweight matchup between Casey and Cynthia Calvillo at UFC Phoenix, a tactical matchup which went the distance Sunday night. In the end, the judges felt Calvillo simply did more, as she earned a unanimous decision in a tight fight. The judges’ scores at Talking Stick Resort Arena were 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.

“Cortney Casey is by no means easy to finish,” Calvillo said. “So I knew this was the type of fight this was going to be.”

The opening round was felt at a feeling-out range, with Casey wading in and landing mostly right hands, while Calvillo mixed up single strikes and tried to set up takedowns. Other than a quick instance where Calvillo shoved Casey to the mat after a kick, though, the round was conducted in the standup.

In the second, Calvillo drilled Casey with a nasty leg kick, and followed up by shooting for a takedown, but it ended in a stalemate in the clinch. Still, the sequence was likely enough to give the round to Calvillo in a five-minute stretch in which neither competitor otherwise got much untracked.

The final round was similar to the first, with neither fighter seeming to want to make a fight-changing mistake. Calvillo twice tried takedowns which didn’t land. The bout ended with the sharpest back-and-forth flurry of the fight as both fighters looked to make a last impression to sway the judges.

“I wanted to show I could outscore somebody standing I got the job done, I would have liked to have got the finish but that’s what it is,” Calvillo said.

With the win, Team Alpha Male’s Calvillo is now 8-1. Casey (8-7) has dropped three of her past four.