We just saw the UFC men’s flyweight title defended by Henry Cejudo with his TKO win over TJ Dillashaw over this past weekend at UFC on ESPN+ 1, and now it loooks like the women’s flyweight title is going to be defended soon, as well.
According to UFC president Dana White, who spoke to reporters following the UFC’s debut event on ESPN in Brooklyn, New York, the world’s leading MMA organization is set to give Jessica Eye the next title shot at 125lbs. She’ll take on UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko for the title later this year, though White did not say when the belt would be defended. With the UFC running three or four cards per month up until June, the promotion had a lot of holes to fill and Shevchenko vs. Eye makes sense as a main event for a Fight Night card on ESPN+, or perhaps even as a co-main event for a pay-per-view.
White told reporters about Eye getting the next title shot after someone asked him if Joanne Calderwood — who called Eye out following her decision win over Ariane Lipski — was in line to fight for the title. There were rumors Eye was going to be next for Shevchenko as they both fought on the same UFC 231 card, and now we know that’s indeed the case.
Eye (14-6, 1 NC) has saved her career by making the move down to flyweight. After struggling with a 1-5, 1 NC record as a bantamweight, Eye is now 3-0 at 125lbs. She has defeated Kalindra Faria, Jessica-Rose Clark and Katlyn Chookagian in her last three outings in order to get the title shot in the UFC’s newest division. The fact she has gone the distance in nine of her 10 UFC fights is concerning going up against a finisher like Shevchenko who probably needs to be stopped in order to beat, but Eye has definitely looked improved at flyweight and her getting the next title shot makes sense.
Shevchenko (16-3) had a 4-2 record as a bantamweight in the UFC, but her two losses came against champion Amanda Nunes and she had to make a move down in weight in order to get another title shot. Moving down to 125lbs has proven to be a great move for her as she destroyed Priscila Cachoeira in her UFC flyweight debut to get a title shot, then beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 to claim the vacant belt. Outside of the Nunes fights, Shevchenko has looked unstoppable in the Octagon, and it’s hard to see anyone at 125lbs giving her much of a fight when she’s so far beyond everyone else in the division as far as skill goes.
Obviously this fight isn’t 100 percent official yet, but it seems likely to be officially announced soon, and when it does the oddsmakers shouldn’t have much trouble lining the fight. I’m fully expecting Shevchenko to be a massive favorite yet again, opening at least around -500 and possibly being steamed even higher. Shevchenko always gets a tremendous amount of support from bettors while Eye traditionally doesnt get much of any, so this isn’t a hard fight to line. As good as Eye has looked in her recent couple of fights since dropping down from bantamweight, it’s hard to see her being the fighter to take Shevchenko’s belt.