When I did research on Jessica Eye prior to her UFC debut against Sarah Kaufman, I had Eye actually absorbing more strikes than she landed in two fights I watched on tape. I thought it was a bad sign since she was set to face arguably the best point striker in the women’s bantamweight division in Kaufman. When the fight actually took place, Kaufman landed 87 significant strikes, Eye landed 65, but it was Eye who ended up winning the fight on the judges’ scorecards.
Now Eye will face Alexis Davis, a fighter I believe could be the second-best in the women’s bantamweight division after Ronda Rousey. Davis was sloppy in her debut victory against Rosi Sexton, but looked much more impressive in her subsequent victory over former title contender Liz Carmouche.
Davis is particularly good at offensive striking, as evidenced by her clash with Kaufman in Strikeforce. In that fight, Davis landed a whopping 139 significant strikes while Kaufman landed 135. Davis ended up losing by majority decision but it was a great example of a situation where a loss still raises a fighter’s stock.
In this fight, I believe we’ll probably see a very aggressive striking match again. Davis has only landed two takedowns in 55 minutes of action while Eye didn’t even attempt a takedown against Kaufman.
Based on the available data, I have to favor Davis in a striking match against Eye. Not only has Davis consistently landed more strikes than her opponents, she performed better than Eye against the common opponent in Kaufman (despite Davis losing a close decision and Eye winning one).
I also think Davis is more likely to mix things up and try to grapple. Davis has passed guard seven times and attempted three submissions in her fights despite landing just two takedowns. Meanwhile, Eye’s only career loss was by submission early in her career.
Overall, I give Davis slight advantages in each area, which add up to her being the clear favorite to win.
Pick: Alexis Davis by decision
DEGENERATE GAMBLER’S CORNER
Davis opened the favorite at -185 with Eye the underdog at +145, but now the line has dropped to -150 for Davis. I think that’s a fairly good price for a fighter I believe is simply better all around. I’m going to keep the risk low in case I’m just underestimating Eye, so it will be $1.50 to win $1.00.