Cormier-Gustafsson headlines a stacked card at UFC 192 this SundayUFC 192 takes place this Sunday from Huston, Texas. This will be the fourth time the UFC has held an event in Huston and the first time since UFC 166. The main event will be for the Light heavyweight championship between champion Daniel Cormier and challenger Alexander Gustafsson. The two were initially expected to face off at UFC 191, however the fight had to be postponed due to Cormier’s knee injury. The co-main event will feature a Welterweight bout between former champion Johny Hendricks and Tyron Woodley, with the winner likely to be next in line for a shot at the winner of the championship bout between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit expected to take place in January.The other fights feature another Light heavyweight bout between Ryan Bader and a returning Rashad Evans. Shawn Jordan will face Ruslan Magomedov in the heavyweight division and Jessica Eye will square off against Julianna Pena in the women’s bantamweight division.
#1 Jessica Eye vs. Julianna Pena
Pena was the logical next opponent for Ronda Rousey after the champion beat Bethe Correia. However Holly Holm got the shot and Pena got booked against Jessica Eye.
Eye has gone 1-2 in her last 3 fights being beaten by Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman. This is make or break for her. A win puts her back in the conversation for a shot at Ronda Rousey, a loss may spell the end of her UFC career. Eye looked good against Tate in what was a back and forth war, however she enters the fight against Pena as a massive underdog.
Eye does a nice job of working the fast jab from the outside but as her fight against Tate showed, her opponents are more than willing to eat a few of her shots to get on the inside to hit power punches of their own. Her head movement against Tate was sorely lacking in quality and Tate landed easy hail makers.
It will be interesting to see how much, if at all, Eye has improved since that Tate fight. If she can avoid getting clipped with the big punches, she can use her technically sound boxing and takedown defence to put on a Holly Holm-esque display and win the fight.
Eye’s opponent Julianna Pena is similar to Tate though not as technically well rounded. However given her young age, that can be developed with time and experience. Pena cannot let the fight stay at range for any considerable period of time. She is the bigger woman and needs to stifle Eye’s speed advantage and grind her down.
Pena will also consistently be looking to shoot the legs and score a takedown on Eye. Even if she doesn’t execute the shoot, the mere threat of it can leave Eye open for the overhand right to land.
Pena is the hottest prospect in the division and is potentially one win away from Ronda Rousey. Eye on the other hand will be hoping to stop the rise of this bludgeoning superstar to solidify her status as a top prospect in this division. This could be Pena’s breakout performance and at the end of the day, she is too well rounded for Eye and looks to be on her way to a title shot.
Prediction: Julianna Pena via TKO, Round 2