Joanne Calderwood, Marina Rodriguez Score Big Wins At UFC 257Former top-ranked flyweight contender Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood made a solid case for a future title shot with her victory tonight at UFC 257: “Poirier vs McGregor 2” in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Calderwood defeated former title challenger Jessica “Evil” Eye in a featured main card matchup.

Also on the UFC 257 main card tonight, Marina Rodriguez put her name on a short list of strawweight title contenders by stopping Amanda Ribas early in the second round. In bantamweight action, Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Peña submitted Sara McMann with a third-round rear-naked choke.


Calderwood (15-5-0) was very effective in the many clinch battles during her bout with Eye (15-9-0, 1 ND) tonight. Eye maintained a boxing-focused strategy, and also repeatedly tried to take Calderwood down, but Calderwood’s takedown defence was solid and she punished Eye with numerous knees and elbows in the clinch. Calderwood was even more dominant on the feet in round two, but an ill-advised spinning back elbow late in the round allowed Eye to take Calderwood down before the bell.

The final round was more of the same, with Eye initiating clinches and Calderwood using her formidable Muay Thai skills to counter with knees and elbows. Eye was game until the final bell, and she landed some nice right hands in round three, but Calderwood’s superior striking volume kept her well ahead on the scorecards. After 15 minutes of action, the judges returned scores of 29-28 and 30-27 twice for Calderwood, who rebounded from a disappointing loss to Jennifer Maia in August. Calderwood, who was previously in line for a flyweight title shot, might once again be in line to challenge for the belt.


Rodriguez (13-1-2) and Ribas (10-2-0) had a relatively uneventful opening round, with a notable highlight coming when Ribas took Rodriguez down and trapped her in the rarely-seen can opener submission. Rodriguez escaped and the fighters exchanged strikes on the ground late in the round. The second round was a different story, and Rodriguez hurt Ribas early on with a big right hook that sent Ribas crashing face-first to the mat. Rodriguez landed more punches on the ground, and thought that referee Herb Dean had stopped the fight, but that was not the case.

Forced to continue to fight on, Rodriguez rocked Ribas with a standing elbow and followed with a final flurry of punches until Dean waved off the fight at the 54-second mark of round two. The victory got Rodriguez back on track following her razor-thin Split Decision loss to former UFC champion Carla Esparza in July. Six of Rodriguez’s 13 pro wins have come via a form of knockout.


On the preliminary card, Peña (10-4-0) overcame takedowns from McMann (12-6-0) en route to a third-round submission finish. McMann’s best success came in round one after she was able to take Peña down and worked for a rear-naked choke. Peña got back to her feet, but was promptly slammed down into side control and both women landed strikes in the final minute. Peña countered a takedown with a guillotine choke and multiple submission attempts off of her back in round two. McMann escaped each time, and she tried for a rear-naked choke later in the round, but Peña broke free and she landed a hard three-punch combo in the final minute of the round.

The final round began with an early clinch battle and Peña threw McMann down to the mat. Striking from the top in side control, Peña forced McMann to roll over and this allowed Peña to take her back. From there, she sunk in both hooks and worked for a rear-naked choke until she was able to get it. McMann broke her grip once, but Peña tightened the choke again and McMann tapped out at the 3:39 mark of round three. Peña has won two of her past three fights since returning to action in July 2019.



(Photo Credit: UFC)