Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at women’s strawweight Pearl Gonzalez as she makes her UFC debut against Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 210 in Buffalo, New York. Pearl Gonzalez Hometown: Chicago, Illinois Age: 30 Height: 5-foot-4 Reach: 69.5 inches Weight Class: Strawweight Camp: Combat-Do / 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu Career Record: 6-1 Key Wins: Cortney Casey Key Losses: None Background Fighting professionally for five years, Gonzalez has fought throughout the midwest regional scene.  She’s won six of her seven career fights, with her last three victories coming by stoppage. Strengths

  • Good size for the weight class
  • Good chin
  • Strong grappler
  • Does her best work in ground and pound

Weaknesses

  • Willing to strike, but doesn’t have the technical prowess to make opponents pay on the feet
  • Poor in transitions
  • Needs to work on her defensive submission game

Fighter Grade Offensive Striking: D+ Striking Defense: D Knockout Power: D+ Athleticism / Speed: C- Footwork: C- Chin: C+ Offensive Wrestling: C Takedown Defense: D+ Submissions: C- Conditioning: C+ Intangibles: D+ Overall Grade: C- Matchup with Cynthia Calvillo A matchup of two grapplers as Cynthia Calvillo welcomes Gonzalez to the UFC. In the limited time I expect this fight to stay on the feet, Gonzalez has a small advantage. Her movement is better, and she has better pop in her punches. With just how much each fighter’s success is determined by their ground game, this fight should quickly get to the mat. Even if Gonzalez ends up in top position, I see a clear advantage for Calvillo. Her speed in transitions and ability to latch in submissions is simply at a much higher level than that of Gonzalez. The Chicago native has been vulnerable to submissions in her previous fights. She puts herself in harm’s way, allowing opponents to threaten with those opportunities. Tasked with fighting a smooth and talented grappler like Calvillo is going to be a difficult matchup for her. I believe Calvillo will find her way to Gonzalez’s neck and latch in a submission for her second straight submission victory in the UFC. The only prop available currently is Calvillo Inside the Distance (+170). Given that Gonzalez has shown an ability to take a punch, the submission finish is the only one in play. Once the submission prop is released, I would give that strong consideration. UFC Ceiling Gonzalez is a gritty fighter that while not the most technically savvy has a decent enough grappling game to compete in the UFC. She’s a good athlete that appears to be one of the more physically strong fighters in the division. She doesn’t have the striking skill set to beat the top strikers in the division, but her top control wrestling game will be effective against much of the bottom tier of fighters in the division. As long as she shows improvements in her submission defense, I think she’s capable of winning a few fights in the division and could potentially sneak into the division’s Top 15 at some point. Fight Film Check out Gonzalez in some of her most recent fights… Gonzalez vs. Casey Gonzalez vs. Suzie Montero