Join our fighting expert Jason Paglia for his betting analysis of the UFC 238 this Saturday at the United Center in Chicago.
<p>A MONSTER week for the ‘Squared Up’ Series last week. We hit our biggest price yet with Anthony Smith by submission at (+1200). We have no won 6 of the last 7 fights but It is going to be much harder to catch that price this week as UFC: 238 rolls into Chicago, Illinois. The co-main event takes place under the lights of the United Center when Jessica Eye challenges UFC Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. There has only been one female fighter that has figured out the riddle that is Bullet Shevchenko since she joined the UFC. Is Jesse Eye the second? We will know Saturday night, so let’s do what we do and break this fight down to a fine powder.</p><p> </p><div><h2><strong>Jessica Eye (14-6) vs Valentina Shevchenko (16-3)</strong></h2><p style="text-align:center;"><br /><img alt src="https://usatmmajunkie.files.wordpress.com/2018/06/jessica-eye-ufc-fight-night-132.jpg?w=1000&h=600&crop=1" style="width:700px;height:420px;" /></p><h2><strong>Jessica Eye</strong></h2><p>Evil Eye steps into the Octagon Saturday as the #1 ranked Women’s Flyweight contender in the world. Jessica Eye made her amateur debut in 2008 when she went 5-0 and won the NAAFS women’s flyweight amateur championship. She got her first big break as a professional when she signed with Bellator, making her debut at Bellator 51 when she defeated Casey Noland. She would be released by Bellator and signed immediately by the UFC in the summer of 2013. She came into the UFC as a bantamweight where she amassed a 1-5 record. Desperate for a fresh start, she moved to the flyweight division in January of 2018 and has done nothing but win since, reeling off 3 consecutive victories. The culmination of a decade of hard work comes to a head when she gets her first title shot Saturday night against Valentina Shevchenko. Below is Jessica Eye, by the numbers.</p><p style="text-align:center;"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5cf82efc2e3e8e88aa38b471/original-stats-ufc-1" style="width:700px;height:199px;" /></p><h2><strong>Pros:</strong></h2><ul> <li>Striking (Jessica Eye’s striking is legit. Her boxing in and out of the pocket is smooth. She works behind her jab well allowing an easier setup for combinations. Her counter-striking game is very solid. She should use her legs more, her kicks are there but not as frequently as I would like.)</li> <li>Footwork (Her movement is fluid. Like most well rounded boxers in the UFC, she cuts the angle very well. Her lateral movement around the cage in general is great. She will need that in spades against Bullet on Saturday night.)</li> <li>Hand speed (Eye’s hand speed is really fast, even for the flyweight division. She landed 32 punches in the first two minutes of the Smith fight. I can’t land 32 punches in 2 minutes…. Can you?)</li> <li>Wrestling (Eye is very much a jack of all trades, master of none type fighter. if you take BJJ out of the equation her wrestling is actually quite strong but she frequently would rather trade punches than take fights to the ground. She is fighting a Kickboxing cyborg so I would assume this fight stays on the feet for the majority of the fight.)</li></ul><h2> </h2><h2><strong>Cons:</strong></h2><ul> <li>Consistency (Since seeing a sports psychologist, Jessica Eye has been more consistent BUT, I am still not sold it is completely behind her. The 3-0 run is great but it wasn’t that long ago we were talking about the 1-5 Eye that was about to get cut from the roster. Why was she going to get cut? The inconsistency inside the Octagon.)</li> <li>Adversity (If everything is going her way she is really hard to deal with but, the second it isn’t she becomes flustered. When that happens, she seems to forget the game plan she stepped into the Octagon with and it’s just a crapshoot from there. How often do things go exactly as planned in the Octagon? Exactly.</li> <li>Pressure (She is literally ALWAYS walking forward but when she is on her back foot, she is LITERALLY always LOSING. Shevchenko should command Octagon control for the majority of the fight which is probably bad news for Eye.)</li></ul><p> </p><h2><strong>Valentina Shevchenko</strong></h2><p style="text-align:center;"><img alt src="https://usatmmajunkie.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/valentina-shevchenko-ufc-fight-night-125.jpg?w=1000&h=600&crop=1" style="width:700px;height:420px;" /></p><p>There is so much to say about Valentina Shevchenko and I don’t even know where to begin. Lets start here, she is the class of the flyweight division and it isn’t even close. We are talking about a woman who beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk three times in kickboxing and MMA. Valentina Shevchenko is a striking machine. She is 56-2 in K-1 / Muay Thai lifetime. She began her MMA career in 2003 where she would go up the ranks of the regional scene. In 2014 Legacy FC would sign her, she fought one time for the promotion, beating Jan Finney by unanimous decision. In 2015 she had finally made the biggest MMA promotion in the world. She was a last minute replacement for Germaine de Randamie at UFC on FOX 17 where she went on to beat Sarah Kaufman by split decision. All in all she has fought 7 times in the UFC and the only female MMA fighter thus far to beat her might be the greatest female MMA fighter of all-time. Amanda Nunes bested Shevchenko twice, and she comes into her title defense opportunity Saturday night against Jessica Eye with a 5-2 record in the UFC. Below is Valentina Shevchenko by the numbers.</p><p style="text-align:center;"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5cf830062e3e8e88aa38b472/original-stats-ufc-2" style="width:700px;height:201px;" /></p><h2><strong>Pros:</strong></h2><ul> <li>Kick Boxing (She is literally one of the best female kick boxers of all-time, the end, full stop.)</li> <li>Stamina (Three of the seven fights that Bullet has fought in the UFC have gone through the championship rounds to the distance. In all three fights her gas tank was ridiculous. She has stamina for days.)</li> <li>Fight IQ (Bullet Shevchenko has seen everything she is ever going to see in a fight. 58 KICK BOXING MATCHES / 19 MMA FIGHTS. There is nothing that will surprise her, there is nothing she hasn’t already seen. She is in full control of every situation when she steps into the Octagon.)</li> <li>Strength ( She has power behind her punches, but the strength I am talking about is how she throws her opponents all over the cage in the clinch and against the cage,)</li> <li>Technique ( For 16 years she has done nothing but perfect the art of striking, the technique is the truth.)</li></ul><h2><strong>Cons:</strong></h2><ul> <li>Inactivity (As good of a striker as she is, there are multiple examples of her taking a minute or two off in any given round. It is not because she is tired, it is just weird bouts of low volume strikes.)</li> <li>Ground Game (There are no weaknesses in Shevchenko’s standup, offensively and defensively she is as close to automatic as it gets for a female fighter. We are left with the rest, and that’s the ground game. She is an average wrestler at best. Her top control game is ok because of how strong she is but, when her back is on the mat she has looked very inferior at times. She does have a decent amount of submissions but if I am being honest , I was never really impressed with her BJJ. As far as her takedowns go, her takedown defense is very solid. She stuffs 3 out of 4 takedowns attempted but her offensive takedown accuracy hovers around 50% fight to fight which isn’t great. Overall, her ground game is the weakest link in the armor.)</li></ul><p style="text-align:center;"><img alt src="https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--QzrUoU1e--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/17wwvcry020hhjpg.jpg" style="width:700px;height:394px;" /></p><p>THERE IS NO PICK FOR THIS FIGHT, the value is gone really, but we will break it down for you anyway.</p><p>OK, so what do we know? We know that both these fighters are VERY similar in their styles. Both much better on the feet than on the ground. We know that this fight should be a kick boxing match for as long as the fight goes on. They are both in their comfort zone when they are throwing punches and kicks so unless someone decides to flip the script, we should not see much ground work in this fight. What else do we know?</p><p>Well, the two biggest factors in this fight are #1 there are levels to this game. Shevchenko is a world class kick boxer and, her stand up has transitioned flawlessly to MMA. Jessica Eye is a solid striker in the UFC but she is half the striker that Bullet Shevchenko is….. seriously like half.</p><p>The 2nd biggest factor in this fight is this, Jessica Eye has never gone 5 rounds in a fight before in the UFC or anywhere. Saturday night will be the 4th time in 8 fights that Shevchenko is fighting in a 5 round fight. The first three have gone the distance and her cardio was phenomenal in all three. We have no idea how Jessica Eye will react to the extra championship rounds. If you have read this series every week, you know one of the things we don’t do is bet on the unknown in MMA fights. For that reason alone I wouldn’t bet on Eye, even though there are definitely other reasons. On the flip side we aren’t going to bet on Shevchenko at the <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/" target="_blank" title="Live Fighting Odds Board">ridiculous odds of (1.083)</a> so where does that leave us?</p><p>Of the six losses that Jessica Eye has in her MMA career, none of them have come by TKO. She is tough as nails. She was submitted one time and the other five losses came by way of decision. Valentina Shevchenko isn’t known for knocking fighters out. She loses some of her power in championship rounds like most fighters do. All this tells me that there is a better chance that Shevchenko wins this fight by decision than inside the distance.</p><p>I said earlier that we weren’t not going to send an official pick out for this fight, but if you are asking us for a lean it would probably be the <a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tips/fighting/" target="_blank" title="More Fighting Tips">fight goes the distance</a> at (1.90).</p><p>Best of luck.</p></div>