Note: This is an article I wrote for MMA Latest News.
MMA fighter, Jessica “Evil” Eye, has spent the last year as kind of a dark horse in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. She hasn’t really had a chance to prove herself as a top contender who deserves to fight for a title but now she is getting that chance.
During a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, UFC women’s bantamweight champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey announced that Eye would face former title contender and Strikeforce champion Miesha “Cupcake” Tate in a title eliminator bout. Although Rousey said the fight would take place at UFC 190 – where she is scheduled to defend her title against undefeated Brazilian prospect Bethe Correia – UFC President Dana White later told MMA Junkie that the match would happen in the summer.
This is a big opportunity for Eye, who is 11-2 1NC in her mixed martial arts career and 1-1, 1NC in the octagon. She is coming off an impressive victory over Leslie Smith back in November. The Evil one delivered some powerful strikes, power enough to partially rip Smith’s ear from her head. While “The Pacemaker,” one of the toughest fighters in the sport, wanted to continue doctors called the fight. This gave Eye her first official win in the octagon.
Before the Smith fight Eye dropped a decision to Alexis Davis. She originally earned a split-decision win over former world champion Sarah Kaufman in October 2013, however the victory was overturned after she failed a post-fight drug test.
Before she came to the UFC, Eye was a journeyman who faced competition in different promotions and had wins over Angela Magana, Carina Damm and Bellator world champion Zolia Frausto Gurgel. Some speculated – and by some I mean me – that Bellator would have been the place where Eye would earn her first world title. However, the promotion decided to go in a different direction at the time and Eye, along with the rest of the Bellator women’s roster was put on the wayside.
The Evil one is going have to be spot on the money as Tate (16-5, 3-2) is no cakewalk. The former Strikeforce champion is riding a three-fight winning streak – Liz Carmouche, Rin Nakai and Sara McMann. Although her victories haven’t been that impressive in the eyes of her critics, Tate has solidified her place among the top three fighters in the 135-pound division, right behind Rousey and Cat Zingano. She’s also the only woman to take the Rowdy one past the first round. Before Rousey came along, a lot of people looked at Tate as the potential face of women’s MMA. Like Eye, she too spent part of her journeyman days facing tough competition.
This should be a good fight. Both Eye and Tate are tough nails and can absorb a lot of punishment. Eye is unique in that she has powerful hands that she uses to land some quick combos. She is also not afraid to get in the thick of things. She’s also active in the clinch and loves to throw strikes while she has a hold of her opponents.
Yet Tate is just as dangerous when it comes to the ground and loves to bring the pressure, especially when she smells blood.
I expressed my disappointment in Rousey vs. Correia and the possibility of how it could end early, but Eye vs. Tate makes me excited for the summer. Fans shouldn’t expect this fight to go less than three rounds – hopefully the UFC schedules it for five.
As for Eye, this is her biggest test to date and hopefully she can pass it with flying colors and get her shot at becoming a world champion.