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Jessica Eye 'hopes' for crowd support at UFC 238 in Chicago

Jessica Eye 'hopes' for crowd support at UFC 238 in Chicago

If a fighter can get their first title fight in their backyard, that's a dream scenario. It's typically something reserved for champions, like when UFC heavyweight champ and Cleveland native Stipe Miocic defended the belt for the first time in his home town.

But if you can't fight in you're hometown, fighting in your region of the country is the next best option, and for Cleveland native Jessica Eye, that's this flyweight title bout against the champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, IL.

"The air feels like it, it has that stench of the Midwest," Eye said of Chicago.

Eye has been training outside of Cleveland for the first time in her career and in some ways it's a Midwest homecoming.

While most states or cities have a lot of pride, the Midwest has a grander sense of regional pride which could mean Eye has a hometown crowd behind her at the United Center.

"I hope so," Eye said of Chicago fans lending their vocal support to a fellow Midwesterner on Saturday night. "I mean maybe, maybe not. We'll have to wait till Saturday to see what happens."

But Cleveland is only a five hour car ride and a short flight away, allowing Team Eye to turn out in droves.

"They're all here, they're all flowing in. It's like when the fog came in the [other] night, that's when all my people showed up," Eye said. "That's Team Eye. The fog rolled in, the rest of the 'Evil' crew showed up.

"Everybody comes no matter what. We had a huge following in Toronto. My friends came with me to Singapore, my friends came to St. Louis.

"My people come with me, they're with me through and through. This is a true support system."

On Saturday night, Eye will look to win her first UFC title in the newly created women's flyweight division, her natural weight class.

ICYMI: Cubs, White Sox go in opposite directions to start the first half

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: Cubs, White Sox go in opposite directions to start the first half

The Cubs swept the Pirates to open the second half while the White Sox went the other direction, getting swept in Oakland. Here are some Chicago sports stories from the weekend that you may have missed.

Cubs

The Cubs beat the Pirates on Friday and then crushed them with seven runs in the first inning on Saturday. Jon Lester even got in the act with a home run. The win locked up the team's first series win in over a month.

On Sunday, the Cubs finished off the sweep behind a quality start from Jose Quintana. After the sweep, the Cubs had a simple explanation for why the team played better over the weekend.

White Sox

Oakland remains a house of horrors for the White Sox. The Sox began the second half with a 5-1 loss at the A's on Friday. Ivan Nova took the loss and A.J. Reed debuted at DH.

The next day, Dylan Covey returned from the IL. Covey's start did not go well in a lopsided loss.

Oakland finished the sweep off with a walk-off win on Sunday, but Reynaldo Lopez didn't allow an earned run in six innings.

Bulls

The Bulls wrapped up Summer League play on Saturday. Coby White showed some glimpses of his playmaking ability in the finale against the Magic.

ICYMI: White Sox trending in the right direction; Cubs confident best is yet to come; Bulls rookies shine in Summer League

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: White Sox trending in the right direction; Cubs confident best is yet to come; Bulls rookies shine in Summer League

Here are some of the Chicago sports stories you may have missed from the weekend. 

White Sox

The White Sox have had a truly amazing first half of the season when compared to last year's struggles. Whether or not their overall record ends up being closer to last season's, the progress that the White Sox have seen from their young talent is real.

They notched a win over the Cubs in the fourth game of the Crosstown Classic series on Sunday, tying the series at two games apiece. Despite some continued struggles against the Cubs from All-Star Lucas Giolito, the Sox have overall played well the past week.

As Rick Hahn has stated before, the White Sox win total isn't as important as clear-cut development among the core players. Fortunately for White Sox fans, winning games and focusing on player development have gone hand in hand these days. 

Cubs

The Cubs have had an up-and-down season so far but still, sit in the driver's seat in the NL Central.

The North Siders were in the midst of a four-game losing streak before bouncing back with consecutive wins over the Pirates and White Sox. The Cubs' win over the White Sox on July 6 contained a great six-inning outing from Jon Lester but the team still had their fair share of avoidable mistakes. The Cubs dropped the fourth game of the Crosstown Classic series, but still received a solid offensive contribution from rookie Robel Garica, who has been an awesome story for the Cubs.

There is an overall sense of optimism in the clubhouse, as the team feels the best is yet to come.

Bulls

Summer League is not a major indicator of long-term success but it does help us get an idea of how a rookie's game will translate to the NBA. And so far, the Bulls have gotten to see how effective Coby White and Daniel Gafford can be as a duo. Jim Boylen has been very pleased with the overall direction of the team and with good reason after a solid offseason.

White has shown off a variety of nice step-back shots and been a true asset in the pick-and-roll game. Gafford has been a monster around the basket, blocking shots and moving his feet well when defending in the pick-and-roll. There is legitimate excitement surrounding the Bulls.

Between the return of Denzel Valentine and Chandler Hutchison, the free agent additions and another expected leap from Zach Laine and Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls are poised for a (within reason) bounce-back season in a weakened Eastern Conference.