Once a talent talked of in terms of title contendership, Cynthia Calvillo found herself in dire straits at UFC 287, where she was paired up with Lupita Godinez.
Calvillo, since November of 2020, had found herself in a tailspin, losing four straight fights in a quadrilogy of error in the flyweight division. The 125lb experiment for Calvillo had started with weight struggles, but on Saturday, she returned to the strawweight division in hopes of finding greener pastures, in the form of a much-needed win.
The good news was, she had successfully made weight Friday morning. The better news, for those who believe a fired up fighter results in a better performance, there appeared to be a bit of animosity between the two to start the fight.
— UFC (@ufc) April 9, 2023
Godinez put the pressure on early in opening round, closing the distance and letting her hands go. Calvillo did answer back, but was having trouble hitting the mark. Godinez went to the body, went to the head, and looked for an opening for an overhand right. Both fighters, meanwhile, landed a number of low kicks.
In the final 90 seconds of the round, Calvillo landed a key takedown. Calvillo moved into half-guard with about a minute left to work. She couldn’t find an opening for a finish, however, with the pair heading to round two.
Some early exchanges saw both fighters landing in the opening minute of the second frame. Calvillo was getting combinations going, mixing in an uppercut, then falling back out of range. Cynthia was also looking to catch Godinez on her entries. A takedown attempt, however, was fought off by Godinez, who showed some impressive balance.
“Loopy” Godinez appeared to have slowed in round two. Calvillo was far more effective, mixing in kicks and her left hook. Her volume was a step ahead of Godinez, who was still effective when she was throwing — which quite frankly wasn’t often enough. In the final minute, Godinez fired off a front kick, and would connect again at the bell.
The third round started with Godinez showing a trickle of blood from the nose. The fight was still very much up in the air, but the momentum felt like it favored Calvillo. Godinez fired a high kick, and the pair exchanged fire. Calvillo went to the body with her jab. Both fighters put some heat behind their punches, but again, Calvillo had the edge in volume. Godinez, meanwhile, had her head on the centerline, and ate a handful of jabs as a result.
Godinez would take the back late in the fight, putting on a bodylock and taking Calvillo to the mat in an attempt that likely wouldn’t count as Godinez was instantly back up. In a fight that went to the final bell, with both fighters having their moments, volume and damage appeared to be the difference-maker. That might have favored Calvillo, who had the slight edge in significant strikes — but it was Loopy Godinez coming away with the split decision win.
Official Result: Lupita Godinez def. Cynthia Calvillo by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)