With submission-only grappling rapidly growing as a spectator sport, more and more professional MMA fighters with a penchant for grappling have begun to enter the sport. The Submission Underground Grappling competition coming up on Sunday, December 11 is part of this amazing movement in the grappling scene. This tournament will feature many match-ups between MMA fighters and jiu-jitsu practitioners and will follow EBI rules. I had an opportunity to chat with one of the competitors on this card, Jessica “Evil” Eye, a pioneer of WMMA, a UFC Fighter, and my Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center teammate!
Jessica made her amateur MMA debut in 2008 and her professional debut in 2010, making it all the way to the UFC in 2013. She has fought some of the very best women in the game, and has earned a reputation for being one of the toughest strikers in women’s MMA.
For starters, it is important to know how Jessica came by this fantastic opportunity to showcase her grappling skills.
When I originally said I wanted to take a year off from MMA, that didn’t mean I am not training or finding other ways to challenge myself as well as make me better. I enjoy the BJJ community and it’s separate from the full MMA community, so it’s nice to see the differences. I was contacted directly by Chael Sonnen. He called on the same day I was involved in a motorcycle accident and said he needed an answer, so I said yes!
Jessica is not as well-known for her grappling, but she has only been stopped by submission once in her career. That doesn’t happen by accident. She is excited for a submission-only match-up against one of her former MMA opponents, Miesha Tate.
I love that this match-up is against Miesha Tate because I don’t feel threatened by her. I know her strength levels and have seen her fight many times. I know she loves the double leg and is a sucker for the arm bar. I know it’s hard for people to make a prediction on my ground game because I have failed to incorporate it properly into my fight style. This year I am taking off from the octagon is to build my confidence on the ground again so I can truly showcase my abilities.
Jessica has been putting work in on the mat to prepare for this matchup
My preparation has been different then an MMA Fight camp. It’s been nice training hard and not getting punched in the face. But I am not sure I am just sacrificing the punches for finger bruises from being grabbed at practice from all the rounds of grappling we have been doing. It’s also allowed me to work closer with the Strong Style Brasa Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team and I have been really enjoying the different pace that they work at.
Jessica has been an MMA fighter for a while, and has an interesting perspective on the key differences between MMA grappling and straight jiu-jitsu.
MMA grappling is a lot more aggressive and high-paced. I feel like, in your normal traditional BJJ grappling, you have to slow the pace down and play a much more deliberate game so you’re not caught in a submission. I like myself as an MMA fighter… but I really have enjoyed seeing the killer submission artist I have been becoming. Considering this is a submission-only match, it makes you feel little more badass. Like I don’t ever want to KO a teammate, but I love subbing them in practice.
For more information about how to watch this upcoming competition go to | FloGrappling
Jessica’s main shout-outs go to her teammates and coaches at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center.