UFC 166 fight card primer: Sarah Kaufman vs. Jessica Eye

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow previews all 13 fights from tonight's UFC 166 PPV in Houston, Texas. Here, we look at Sarah Kaufman vs. Jessica Eye.

The only women's MMA fight of the evening takes place on the UFC 166 preliminary card on Fox Sports 1. Former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman (16-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes her UFC debut against fellow newcomer Jessica Eye (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who is regarded as one of the best women's flyweights in the world.

Kaufman is the 2nd ranked contender in the UFC's new division, while Eye is obviously not ranked, having never fought at bantamweight before. Eye's UFC debut comes months after Bellator's decision to ax the women's division. The Fox Sports 1 broadcast starts at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.

How do these two measure up?

Kaufman: 28 years old | 5'5" | 66" reach
Eye: 27 years old | 5'5" | 63.5" reach

What have these two done recently?

Kaufman: W - Leslie Smith (SD) | L - Ronda Rousey (SUB) | W - Alexis Davis (MD)
Eye: W - Caina Damm (UD) | W - Zoila Gurgel (SUB) | W - Angela Magana (UD)

How did these two get here?

Kaufman's planned entry into the UFC was due to be in August against Sara McMann, but McMann pulled out for undisclosed reasons. The Canadian first made waves in Strikeforce when she won by slam KO against current TUF contestant Roxanne Modafferi in 2010, but her reign as champion abruptly ended against Marloes Coenen. Following three straight wins, Kaufman was given another title shot vs. Ronda Rousey, but lasted less than a minute before tapping out to an armbar. After Strikeforce closed up shop, Kaufman won one fight (her most recent one) in Invicta, a split decision over Leslie Smith. As it stands right now, Kaufman has won 3 fights over the current top 10 of the division (Davis, Carmouche, and Tate).

Eye has only been in professional MMA since 2010, and so far it's been a rousing success. Since losing to Aisling Daly in 2011, Eye has won 7 in a row, including a 3-0 mark in Bellator. The last of her Bellator wins was a beautiful standing arm-triangle choke against Zoila Gurgel, who went to sleep in just under a minute. It remains her only submission win in 10 fights. After beating Carina Damm in Ohio, Eye signed with the UFC after Bellator ceased the women's division.

Why should you even care?

If Eye can get a win over a top 135er in her first fight at bantamweight, we would instantly have a new contender. All due respect to Kaufman, but as long as Ronda Rousey is the champion, there's no reason for Kaufman to get another title shot.

SBN coverage of UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos III

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