Jessica Eye wanted the UFC to institute a women’s flyweight division for years and now she’s asking for her chance at the title.
On Saturday night in Toronto, Eye was able to earn a hard fought split decision over Katlyn Chookagian in a matchup that had been tabbed as a potential No. 1 contender’s bout in the 125-pound women’s division.
While it was close over all three rounds, Eye got the job done to earn her third straight win in the division.
In a battle of volume strikers, Eye was the aggressor throughout the opening round, constantly pressuring forward and looking primarily for boxing combinations. Eye was successful with several overhand right hands that were able to slip Chookagian’s defense during the first few exchanges.
Chookagian made an adjustment as time ticked away as she started to land her counter shots with more regularity while firing off several head kicks that forced Eye to slow her attacks.
The second round saw Eye not only turn up the intensity but she was landing with more accuracy as she finally found a way inside Chookagian’s long reach. Eye’s right hand was her best weapon throughout the fight and Chookagian was struggling to avoid it whenever she would engage in exchanges.
Still, Chookagian kept finding a way to get her momentum going later in the round where her combinations landed with more regularity.
With five minutes remaining, Eye managed to open a cut under Chookagian’s right eye with a short punch before slipping inside for a takedown attempt. Chookagian was able to resist the wrestling from Eye before the fighters worked back to the feet.
While she didn’t get the takedown, Eye was still pushing the pace throughout the third round and landed the better power shots while Chookagian was constantly trying to pepper away from the outside.
When the final horn sounded, there was little doubt that the judges were going to have a tough call on their hands but ultimately they returned two scores in favor of Eye at 29-28 to give her the victory.
Afterwards, Eye was all about the title shot as she directed some poignant comments at UFC president Dana White.
“I’ve got my red panties on, Dana [White], I want my title shot!” Eye shouted.
Considering the status of the women’s flyweight division, Eye would certainly appear to have an argument to get that next title shot, especially with a win over the No. 3 ranked fighter in Chookagian. Now Eye will watch the co-main event at UFC 231 between Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine the new women’s flyweight champion in hopes of facing the winner next year.