Gillian Robertson was on the receiving end of some of the most blatant eye gouges in recent memory, but ‘The Savage’ took them in stride and had no issue with Priscila Cachoeira for her egregious defense tactics.
The fight between Robertson and Cachoeira served as the opener for the early preliminary portion of UFC 269 this past Saturday. Though Cachoeira got the better of the striking exchanges, Robertson took over the fight once she was able to get it to the ground. From there, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt unloaded on her opponent with ground-and-pound before she sunk in a rear-naked choke with a few seconds left in the first round.
As she was squeezing, Cachoeira attempted to fend off the choke by repeatedly jamming her thumb into the eye of Robertson, who remained undeterred and focused on getting that submission. She ultimately did at the very last second, and left the Octagon with an impressive win.
Robertson spoke to assembled media during her post-fight press conference and explained what she was thinking during those eye gouges from Cachoeira.
“I’m definitely just hoping that the referee stops the fight at that point,” said Robertson (video provided by MMA Fighting). “Like, I don’t even think he gave her a warning because there was two that were pretty clear that I felt decent that was like thumb straight in my eye. But I was just trying to squeeze, squeeze. Before the first one, I actually felt her body go limp a little bit, so I thought she was out, and then I felt the thumb go straight in my eye. I was like, ‘Oh, she’s not out! OK!’”
The eye gouges weren’t the only misdeed Robertson had to deal with. Cachoeira also missed weight by three pounds during weigh-ins on Friday morning, which forced the initially scheduled flyweight fight to be contested at a catchweight instead.
Despite the lack of professionalism, Robertson holds no ill will towards Cachoeira.
“For me, I just let it slide. I don’t know, it’s a fight. Sometimes, I guess you don’t really know what’s going through her head. I don’t know. She was probably in a moment of desperation, didn’t really have a defense, so her defense was her eye gouge. So, I don’t necessarily have any hard feelings towards her for that or professionally. Like I said, it’s not great to miss weight, but other than that, it is what it is. We fought it out and we can hug at the end of the day.”
Not only did Robertson snap a two-fight losing streak and return to the win column, but she also broke records with her win over Cachoeira. Robertson surpassed Mackenzie Dern for most submission wins (5) by a female fighter in UFC history and claimed the most stoppage wins (6) in the women’s flyweight division from current champion Valentina Shevchenko.
“I didn’t even think about that until now, so that’s pretty awesome,” said Robertson. “I know that Mackenzie Dern took that record from me a couple of months back, so it’s nice to be on top, and I hope that I can push that record to the point where nobody is going to be able to catch me.”