Joanne Calderwood is back on track in the flyweight title picture after beating another top 10 ranked opponent in Jessica Eye.
A loss to Jennifer Maia in a short-notice fight this past year cost Calderwood an opportunity to compete for gold so she definitely had something to prove on Saturday night. Showcasing her striking acumen, Calderwood consistently beat Eye to the punch while staving off every attempt the Ohio native made to shift the momentum in her favor.
When it was over, the judges scored the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Calderwood.
“I definitely wanted this Jessica, than the other ones missing weight and bad health,” Calderwood said after having her hand raised. “I’m glad she’s in good health and I beat her.”
Following some pre-fight bad blood between the flyweights, Eye and Calderwood were quick to meet in the center of the octagon with both throwing heavy shots. There was very little fighting at a distance in the early exchanges with Calderwood working from inside the clinch and Eye was happy to match her strike for strike.
Despite the fast start, Calderwood settled down in the second round thanks to some advice from her coaches and she began operating more from the outside. Again and again, Calderwood was punishing Eye with well-placed straight punches and a front kick that certainly got her attention.
Calderwood’s confidence in her striking allowed the Scottish fighter to pick and choose her shots with Eye struggling to deal with her output on the feet.
In return, Eye scored a takedown late in the second round and she employed a similar strategy at the start of the final five minutes by rushing across the cage to trap Calderwood against the fence. Unfortunately, Eye was unable to capitalize on the position and after a restart, Calderwood was still much more effective with her striking.
Just before time ran out, Calderwood clipped Eye with a short shot from inside the clinch that opened a gash on the former title contender’s eyebrow that helped seal the deal and cement her victory.
With a 2-1 record in her past three fights, Calderwood said she hopes the UFC will consider her for a title shot in the near future against reigning champion Valentina Shevchenko but if that doesn’t happen, she’s ready to stay busy against anybody the promotion throws at her.