Jessica Eye wins by TKO after Leslie Smith’s ear gets split open

MEXICO CITY — Jessica Eye won by an ear.

In a women’s bantamweight contender bout, Eye defeated Leslie Smith by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 1:30 of the second round due to a nasty cut on Smith’s left ear. The fight aired on the FOX Sports 1 prelims of UFC 180 on Saturday night at Arena Ciudad de Mexico.

Eye landed a hard straight hand to the ear in the first and it started gushing blood. A closer look showed Smith’s ear was split open — and half was basically hanging off. Doctors let her continue into the second round, but when she took further punishment to the ear, referee Herb Dean stopped the action. At that point, doctors called a halt to the fight.

Smith was not happy, yelling at the crowd in Spanish that she was fine and able to continue. But it seemed like the doctors and Dean made the correct call before any further damage could be done. You don’t see an injury like that very often.

Eye got the better of Smith in the first round filled with fun striking exchanges. Smith got her licks in, but Eye landed the harder shots and the one to the ear was right on the money. "Evil" smartly kept going to that spot, too, until Dean felt like Smith had enough.

"When I connected and saw her ear blow up, that became my main target," Eye said. "I was going to keep hitting it until they stopped the fight or it fell off. My goal is to be the first girl in the UFC to get a knockout win. I know I’ll do it. Now I’ve climbed another rung on the ladder, and I’ll look around and see what my options are but Im almost to the top.”

Eye (11-2, 1 NC) was coming off a very close split decision loss to Alexis Davis at UFC 170 in February. Many felt she won the bout, including Eye, and then Davis went on to challenge Ronda Rousey in July for the UFC women’s bantamweight title. Eye said coming into this fight with Smith was the best mental state she has experienced. Ranked No. 6 among women’s 135-pound contenders, she has big fights in her future.

Smith (7-6-1) does too. We already knew she was one of the most exciting fighters in the division and she proved herself as one of the toughest Saturday night. She’s ranked No. 13 among contenders and will likely be raring to get back into the Octagon. After getting some stitches, of course.