Saturday's stacked UFC 266 main card gets underway with a flyweight clash between No. 1 contender Jessica Andrade and No. 5 Cynthia Calvillo.
A pair of Top-5 ranked flyweights are set to meet when No. 1 contender Jessica Andrade takes on No. 5 Cynthia Calvillo in the opening main card fight of UFC 266 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Both fighters are still trying to find their ground in the flyweight division after jumping up from strawweight. Andrade is looking for a second title shot after falling to flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko earlier this year. Calvillo looks ready for her own title shot and a win on Saturday will get her one step closer.
Jessica Andrade UFC 266 Odds
Andrade (21-9 MMA record) has been a force in every division she has fought in and is the first woman in the UFC to win in three different weight divisions (bantamweight, strawweight, flyweight). Andrade won the strawweight title over Rose Namajunas in the main event of UFC 237 in 2019. She picked up the win with a brutal second-round KO slam that not only earned her the belt, but also Performance of the Night and Fight of the Night honours.
Unfortunately, Andrade has had a bit of bad luck since winning the strawweight title. She lost the belt to Zhang Weili in her first title defence and she’s dropped three of her last four fights overall. This will be Andrade’s third flyweight bout. She debuted in the division with a first-round TKO win over Katlyn Chookagian in late 2020. That win earned Andrade an immediate title shot, where she was clearly in over her head and lost to flyweight champion Shevchenko by second-round TKO.
Andrade has already proven she’s an absolute powerhouse fighter, easily capable of knocking opponents out with a single shot or a brutal slam. She’s a natural striker who will likely try to do damage by keeping this fighting standing up or in the clinch. Andrade is fighting an opponent with superior takedown ability, so she’ll need to close the gap cautiously, but quickly.
Look for Andrade to punish Calvillo with powerful combination body shots anytime Calvillo goes in for the takedown. Andrade needs to keep this fight standing up to have the advantage.
Cynthia Calvillo UFC 266 Odds
Calvillo (9-2 MMA record) is still fairly new to the UFC, debuting in 2017. She quickly made a name for herself, however, with submission wins over Amanda Cooper and Pearl Gonzalez, before taking down Joanne Calderwood by unanimous decision. Her first stumble was a unanimous decision loss against Carla Esparaza, but it’s fair to wonder if fatigue may have been a factor. The Esparaza loss was Calvillo’s fourth UFC fight in 2017 and fifth total fight of the year.
The California native followed up her first career loss with two wins and a draw. She made her UFC flyweight debut with a unanimous decision victory over Jessica Eye in June 2020. That win earned Calvillo a shot at Chookagian later in the year at UFC 255, but she would go on to lose by unanimous decision.
Calvillo has been one of the best grapplers in every division and promotion she’s competed in. She’s at her best in scrambles and she can quickly lock up submissions with the smallest opportunities. Calvillo is not going to out-strike her opponent, so she’ll need to bring this fight to the ground.
The best strategy for Calvillo in this fight is to angle herself so that she’s in a position to duck under Andrade’s heavy strikes and leave herself with an opportunity to get the fight to the ground. If Calvillo can take Andrade to the ground and make this a wrestling match, she’ll have a good chance to pull out the upset win.
UFC 266 Prediction: Andrade vs. Calvillo
The winner of this fight won’t get an immediate title shot, but they’ll be close, so there’s a lot at stake on Saturday. Calvillo’s success has mostly come from the ground, but I don’t see that working against Andrade. Andrade is too powerful and could win this with one shot if she lands it correctly. Andrade wins by second-round KO/TKO.