Scotland native Joanne Calderwood is looking to win at home, but surging upstart Cynthia Calvillo has other plans for Glasgow.
While welterweight standouts Gunnar Nelson and Santiago Ponzinibbio will be headlining UFC Glasgow, there’s plenty of reason to tune in early for the strawweight collision between Joanne Calderwood and Cynthia Calvillo. Both women enter the tilt with big top ten implications for the winner.
Calvillo is locked in a race with Volkan Oezdemir for breakthrough fighter of the year. The light-heavyweight will get his chance to put a stamp on 2017 later this month but it’s Calvillo who has kept herself front and center in the UFC. Sunday will mark the third fight in roughly four months for Calvillo, with the potential for more before the year is out.
Her last outing saw her return to the Octagon just one month after making her UFC debut to submit grappler Pearl Gonzalez in an impressive outing. Training out of Team Alpha Male, Calvillo already has many pegging her as potential future title contender. She is a dynamic fighter and outspoken on the microphone, making her a must-see fighter on every card.
Calderwood is looking to gain solid footing in the strawweight division. “Jojo” ignited interest in her career after back-to-back wins over Cortney Casey and Valerie Letourneau. However, she hit a road block when she ran into Brazilian powerhouse Jessica Andrade last year.
Perhaps the bright lights of the UFC have obscured the fact that Calderwood remains among the most accomplished fighters in the division. A veteran Muay Thai fighter, she opened her career 9-0 before her run on The Ultimate Fighter. Her win over Letourneau made it clear that she would benefit from the opening of the proposed flyweight division later this year as she looked in fantastic shape for the lone 125lb women’s fight so far in UFC history.
Regardless, Calderwood has made no excuses. This is her second straight year competing on a card in her native Scotland and there’s no doubt she is looking to get another impressive performance in front of her home country.
Stylistically, the bout looks to be an exciting collision. Calderwood is an accomplished Muay Thai fighter and Calvillo throws at a high output on the feet. While fans are anticipating a stand-up battle, there is the probability that Calvillo takes the fight to the mat early. She is a fluid grappler who showed her prowess in her last outing when she dominated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Pearl Gonzalez on the ground.
Calderwood is the more experienced of the two, but Calvillo has momentum on her side. For “Jojo” to be successful, it’ll be key that she be the one to put the pressure on early. She should look to stay disciplined and pick her spots. Calderwood has proven herself to be durable but stylistically it does not favor her to rally back to get the finish against the athletic Calvillo.
For Calvillo, her speed is going to be the difference. She should look to stay disciplined in the opening frame, getting in and out and frustrating the slower Calderwood. As she frustrates Jojo, more openings will present themselves to do significant damage or set up an easy takedown. So far in her UFC tenure Calvillo has proven herself to be more proficient on the mat and she takes far less risks in competing with Calderwood on the ground.
The crowd will be heavily in favor of their hometown fighter in Calderwood, but Calvillo’s confidence is apparent after two consecutive finishes to open her UFC career. She hasn’t shown any signs of hesitation, and despite Calderwood’s veteran experience, Calvillo will look to keep the crowd out of the equation.
Gunnar Nelson looks to set the stage for his notorious teammate next month in the main event, but signs are pointing towards the co-main event stealing the show at UFC Fight Night 113 when Calderwood and Calvillo meet on Sunday night.