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With just one appearance under her belt, Cynthia Calvillo already looks like a contender in the UFC women’s flyweight division.
After a rocky opening round, Calvillo was impressive in earning a unanimous decision over former title challenger Jessica Eye in the UFC on ESPN 10 headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Calvillo landed takedowns in each of the final four frames and also outlanded her opponent by a signficant margin.
“I felt great. It was kinda weird because I didn’t feel depleted or smaller [as] I do at strawweight,” Calvillo said during an interview on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “At  I feel so much [more] comfortable. My cardio felt way better. It was my first time doing a five-round fight. I wanted to see how I’d do with the nerves and evertything heading into the fifth round. I had plenty of energy. I wasn’t tired in any of the rounds.”
Calvillo took Eye’s back on multiple occasions, but she was unable to secure a rear-naked choke. The Tiger Muay Thai representative believes that with a normal camp, she can perform even better. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way a lot of fighters prepare in recent months.
“I am being a little bit hard on myself because of course I wanted to get the finish,” she said. “But I think I did a great job considering everything that’s been going on.”
Calvillo kept her foot on the gas pedal in the final round, even as it appeared that she had built a lead on the scorecards.
“I felt like I was winning the fight already in the fifth round, but I wansn’t trying to cruise it,” she said. “The judges usually can screw you even if you’re winning the fight. I knew that obviously the takedowns were big. I really wanted to beat her with ground-and-pound, and she was holding on my hands for dear life. I did my best that I could.”
The flyweight division remains relatively shallow behind its dominant champion, Valentina Shevchenko, and Calvillo believes someone with her wrestling base can make serious headway in a short period of time.
“This was what half of what I can do as far as preparations. I’m excited to really get in a full camp with my new team. I think the sky’s the limit,” she said. “I just know I’m gonna get way better and these takedowns are gonna come easier.”
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