Apr 30, 2021
Brett OkamotoESPN Workers Creator
- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for “MMA Are residing”
- Lined MMA for Las Vegas Sun
In terms of glowing name price on my own, we enact. Reyes (12-2) fought Jon Jones for the UFC’s light heavyweight championship 14 months in the past — and heaps observers knowing he must obtain acquired the judges’ resolution in that battle. Prochazka (27-3-1) has been a champion in but any other promotion, and he made a splash in his UFC debut last year.
As these two prepare to meet Saturday in Las Vegas, we absolutely know of them. Nonetheless in relation to who every of those men is interior this division, we peaceable don’t.
Is Reyes, 31, the man who merely about toppled Jones attend in February 2020? Or is he the fellow who regarded misplaced in a title battle in opposition to Jan Blachowicz last September? Reyes misplaced that bout by TKO, and he by no approach truly regarded joyful at all. He has since talked about that he wasn’t himself that evening, that he misplaced pretty bit of his identification after the Jones loss and due to successfully being elements in his household.
And as for Prochazka, is he a legitimate title challenger or merely a fun wild card in the division? The 28-year-feeble is very unorthodox, which makes him exceptionally unhealthy. He’s on a flee that has seen him enact 9 consecutive opponents — seven at some stage in the predominant round — and it hasn’t been easy for the UFC to catch him an opponent. Nonetheless in relation to proving his preventing vogue will constantly work in opposition to the elite of the division, this battle must picture us loads.
Gaze, although Blachowicz has clearly established himself as the king of the 205-pound division after Jones’ exit in 2020, this weight class is peaceable extensive open. If Reyes truly is the fellow who pushed Jones to the brink of defeat two fights in the past, he’s in a position to winning a UFC title this year. And if Prochazka truly is a fighter of substance, the same could maybe also be talked about of him.
Just now, we cannot train with inch in the park who these guys are interior this division. That must alternate attain Saturday evening.
By the numbers
0: Losses by Reyes in nontitle fights. He’s coming off his fully two defeats, and both got here in bouts with the light heavyweight belt on the line.
11: Consecutive victories for Prochazka, all nonetheless certainly one of them coming by knockout.
1: Victories among the 27 in Prochazka’s occupation that did no longer attain by stoppage.
4.53: Strikes landed per minute by Reyes in the UFC, the fourth most among packed with life light heavyweights. Prochazka landed 5.7 per minute in his July debut in opposition to Volkan Oezdemir nonetheless doesn’t qualify among the stats leaders on memoir of he has fully that one UFC bout.
2: Male warring parties who obtain acquired their UFC debut in opposition to an opponent ranked in the promotion’s high 10 (since UFC rankings started in 2013). Prochazka is one, knocking out Oezdemir in his Octagon debut in July. The totally different is Justin Gaethje, who debuted with a decide over Michael Johnson in 2017.
Sources: ESPN Stats & Recordsdata and UFC Stats
5 vs. 5
Dominick Reyes’ most up-to-date results
Loss: Jan Blachowicz (TKO2, Sept. 27, 2020; see on ESPN+)
Loss: Jon Jones (UD, Feb. 8, 2020; see on ESPN+)
Steal: Chris Weidman (KO1, Oct. 18, 2019; see on ESPN+)
Steal: Volkan Oezdemir (SD, March 16, 2019; see on ESPN+)
Steal: Ovince Saint Preux (UD, Oct. 6, 2018)
Jiri Prochazka’s most up-to-date results
Steal: Volkan Oezdemir (KO2, July 12, 2020; see on ESPN+)
Steal: CB Dollaway (KO1, Dec. 31, 2019)
Steal: Fabio Maldonado (KO1, Oct. 12, 2019)
Steal: Muhammed Lawal (TKO3, April 21, 2019)
Steal: Brandon Halsey (TKO1, Dec. 31, 2018)
And the winner is …
“I mediate Prochazka is a big topic, thanks to his coast, his chin and his heart,” talked about Muhammed Lawal, coach at American Top Crew. “His weakness would more than seemingly be cage work, on memoir of he spent loads time in Japan preventing in a ring. I truly feel admire if Reyes is spruce, he’ll place apart him in opposition to the cage. The article is, Jiri is so lengthy and in faithful condition, throws a variety of punches and kicks. It’ll be an spell binding battle.”
To peek how a few coaches destroy down this battle and predict the winner, sail here.
How one can see the fights
Explore the final card on ESPN2. Originate no longer obtain ESPN2? Catch instantaneous access.
There might be furthermore FightCenter, which offers dwell updates for every UFC card.
Saturday’s battle card
ESPN2/ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET
Dominick Reyes vs. Jiri Prochazka | Light heavyweight
Cub Swanson vs. Giga Chikadze | Males’s featherweight
Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby | Light heavyweight
Sean Strickland vs. Krzysztof Jotko | Middleweight
Merab Dvalishvili vs. Cody Stamann | Males’s bantamweight
Poliana Botelho vs. Luana Carolina | Ladies folk’s flyweight
ESPN2/ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET
Randa Markos vs. Luana Pinheiro | Strawweight
Gabriel Benitez vs. Jonathan Pearce | Males’s featherweight
Kai Kamaka III vs. TJ Brown | Males’s featherweight
Loma Lookboonmee vs. Sam Hughes | Strawweight
Luke Sanders vs. Felipe Colares | Males’s featherweight
Andreas Michailidis vs. KB Bhullar | Middleweight
Four extra things to know (from ESPN Stats & Recordsdata)
1. Cub Swanson enters his co-important occasion in opposition to Giga Chikadze on a two-battle decide streak after having misplaced his outdated four fights. He has 12 wins in the UFC at featherweight, giving him the third most in division history late Max Holloway (17) and Darren Elkins (14). Chikadze went 4-0 in 2020, making him certainly one of glowing two UFC featherweights ever to head 4-0 in a calendar year. The totally different became once Holloway in 2015.
2. Ion Cutelaba, who faces Dustin Jacoby in but any other light heavyweight bout, lands 5.1 important strikes per minute, the highest payment among all packed with life UFC 205-pounders. Nonetheless he’s on a two-battle shedding streak, whereas Jacoby has acquired two in a row.
3. Sean Strickland and Krzysztof Jotko will meet in a clash of middleweights on three-battle winning streaks. Jotko leads all packed with life 185-pounders in takedown protection (87.1%) and has the third-most total strikes landed (1,014), trailing fully Kevin Holland (1,195) and Derek Brunson (1,015).
4. Merab Dvalishvili, who faces Cody Stamann, is on a 5-battle winning streak. He has 41 takedowns, the most of any packed with life UFC bantamweight, and has the second-highest regulate time share (44.5%).
ESPN’s Jeff Wagenheim contributed to this battle preview.