Cynthia Calvillo earned a close unanimous decision over Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood Sunday afternoon inside the SSE Hydro in Calderwood’s backyard of Glasglow.
Two judges scored the fight 30-27 for Calvillo, while the other judge had the Bay Area product winning 29-28.
SFBay also scored the fight 30-27 in Calvillo’s favor.
Number 14-ranked Calvillo, the Sacramento resident who was born in San Jose, said after the fight that she didn’t travel to Scotland to play Calderwood’s game:
“This is my game, my cage. I’m going to win it how I want it, and this is how I do it.”
The Scottish faithful showered the rising prospect in boos following the announcement of her decision win.
Despite the negative reaction, Calvillo (6-0) thanked Scotland for the great experience she had during fight week.
The women’s strawweight bout – the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio – began pretty evenly, with hometown favorite and number eight-ranked Calderwood (11-3) landing a few inside leg kicks and Calvillo landing short punches.
But Calvillo turned things around towards the end of the first round by landing a takedown and applying her signature rear-naked choke submission.
Calderwood defended well against the hold, but Calvillo successfully transitioned into an armbar to end the round.
Calvillo was unable to successfully land another takedown in the second round, but controlled a majority of it with her striking, bloodying Calderwood’s nose.
But the taller Calderwood, who entered the Octagon with a two-inch height advantage, responded with a trademark spinning back elbow that knocked Calvillo a little off balance.
The third and final round played out similarly to the first, but almost ended with Calderwood submitting to Calvillo’s rear-naked choke as the final 20 seconds ticked away.
Calvillo said post-fight that she was aware of Calderwood’s height advantage and did what she had to do to achieve victory:
“She’s number eight in the world for a reason. I’m new, I’m here, (and) I’m only going to get better.”
Calvillo improved her UFC record to 3-0 in what was her third fight in just four months.
She made her UFC debut at UFC 209 in March against Amanda Cooper and fought Pearl Gonzalez a month later at UFC 210 – submitting both women via rear-naked choke.
She is also a four-time amateur champion and compiled a record of 5-1, ranking as the best amateur fighter out of California for two consecutive years.
She said before the fight that she hopes a win will move her one step closer towards a title fight with UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Calderwood, meanwhile, dropped to 2-3 in her last five fights and was also fined 20 percent of her purse – which went to Calvillo – for missing the 116 lb. limit by two lbs.