Bethe Correia succeeded where all others failed at UFC 203 “Miocic vs. Overeem” on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. She was the only underdog on the card to author an upset (online betting).
Correia -- a +102 underdog, according to BetDSI.com -- eked out a contentious split decision over Jessica Eye (-122) in the featured prelim, as she posted her first win in more than two years and started to heal the lingering wounds from back-to-back losses to Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington. The “Pitbull” was awarded 29-28 marks by judges Derek Cleary and Eric Colon, offsetting the 29-28 nod of approval judge Sal D’Amato cast in Eye’s direction. Twelve of the 18 media members polled on MMADecisions.com sided with Eye.
Neither fighter established any semblance of superiority, as the two women’s bantamweights traded right hands and sporadic kicks to the legs and body throughout the 15-minute encounter. Eye was the busier of the two across the first two rounds, pounding and bloodying the Brazilian with overhand rights and punishing jabs. Correia found another gear in round three, where she wobbled the Rootstown, Ohio, native with a clean right hand and spent the waning moments subduing her in the clinch.
FightMetric data was inconclusive: Correia held a 69-63 edge in total strikes, while Eye enjoyed a 52-49 advantage in significant strikes. All three rounds were close statistically.
Facts and figures notwithstanding, Eye failed to replicate the success of favored Strong Style Fight Team stablemate Stipe Miocic (-146), who retained the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight crown with a first-round knockout of Alistair Overeem (+125) in the main event. She now finds herself on a four-fight losing streak, winless since her exploding-ear technical knockout against Leslie Smith at UFC 180 on Nov. 15, 2014.