Jessica “Evil” Eye sprang the upset at UFC 166. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Bellator MMA veteran Jessica Eye was ranked No. 2 in the world at 125 pounds by the Unified Women’s Mixed Martial Arts rankings. However, she was forced to move up in weight in order to secure an opportunity with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and entered her Octagon debut against former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman (-205) at UFC 166 on Saturday in Houston as a +175 underdog, according to BetDSI.com.
Eye is no stranger to the upset. She needed less than a minute to render Zoila Frausto Gurgel unconscious with a standing arm-triangle choke at Bellator 83 in December. Confidence served her well against Kaufman.
Eye’s dirty boxing earned her a split decision, as she utilized sharp combinations, effective clinch work and a consistent jab, all while weathering powerful kicks and punches from her Canadian counterpart. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with the 27-year-old Eye. She has won eight fights in a row.
Kaufman has now lost two of her past three bouts. She narrowly edged Leslie Smith under the Invicta Fighting Championships banner in April, as she bounced back from her submission loss to Ronda Rousey in Strikeforce in August 2012. That momentum was stymied and her UFC debut was spoiled by Eye.
The only other upset at UFC 166 was authored by Team Link’s resurgent Gabriel Gonzaga (+135), who knocked out Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative Shawn Jordan, a -160 favorite, in a heavyweight showcase.
Although some expected Jordan to overwhelm the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with his speed and athleticism, Gonzaga needed only 93 seconds to dispatch the former Louisiana State University fullback. Moving backward, he countered a combination with a beautiful right hook and finished off Jordan with a series of hammerfists.
Gonzaga has impressed since returning to the UFC. He has won four of his last five bouts inside the Octagon, with two knockouts and two submissions.