DieHardMMA Previews: UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs Prochazka | Fight Preview
By: Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPod)
UFC Vegas 25 is headlined by would-be contenders at 205. Dominick Reyes has had 2 cracks at the strap, and the UFC seems to still think there is some wind in those sales because a win over the most exciting prospect 205 has seen since Johnny Walker. The main event of UFC Vegas 25 is going to be a banger as long as it lasts.
Dominick Reyes (+110)
31 years old
12 – 2
75% finish rate
7 wins by KO/TKO
Dominick Reyes seemed destined for the 205 straps. Ever since this man made his UFC debut, there were rumblings of him being the man to dethrone the great Jon Jones. Reyes was short on experience, but his athleticism and his student mentality allowed him to improve rapidly, and he quickly rose through the ranks. Reyes has names like Jared Cannonier, Ovince St. Preux, Volkan Oezdemir, and Chris Weidman on his record, and many believe that he won his title fight against Jon Jones. After taking the GOAT 25 minutes in a competitive fight, Reyes fell to current champion Jan Blachowicz in his last fight and suddenly finds himself 0-2. Everybody seems to have forgotten about him. It’s put up or shut up time for Dominick Reyes.
Jiri Prochazka (-140)
28 years old
27 – 3
96% finish rate
24 wins by KO/TKO
Jiri Prochazka took the UFC by storm. The hottest 205 prospects outside the UFC has been an absolute wrecking ball in Rizin, and MMA fans have been waiting for the moment when he would transition into the biggest show on the planet. Jiri made his debut against Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir, who is a contender-level fighter, and took him out in just over around. Many, including myself, doubted that Jiri was UFC ready, but he quickly quieted those doubters with a huge performance over a well-known veteran, and now he is on the shortlist for UFC contenders.
Jiri vs. Dom is an interesting fight because the recency bias on both fighters is massive. The world could not be lower on Reyes after watching him get KOd stiff by Jan. Jan Blachowicz may be the current champion, but he has been underrated his entire career and often is looked past. The manner in which Jan systematically broke Reyes down has UFC fans questioning if Reyes belongs at the top of the division anymore, even though just 1 year ago he was taking Jon Jones to his limit.
Jiri, on the other side of things, came in and stole the show. Volkan Oezdemir is not a man to be taken lightly, and even though he may never touch gold, he is well respected and extremely hard to put away. Jiri took a little time to acclimate in the first round but was able to take everything Volkan had to offer and then returned with even more heat and quickly took out Volkan in a way that really only the champ-champ DC was able to.
The issue for me is that Jiri showed some serious striking deficiencies in his fight against Volkan Oezdemir. Jiri was able to stay up on his feet, but he was extremely hittable, and Volkan had him hurt multiple times with very few shots. I cannot doubt the toughness of Jiri, but of his 3 professional losses, 2 of them are by knockout. If Jiri comes into this fight with the same game plan of keeping his hands low, showboating, and relying on his chin, I believe that Reyes, with that sharp, fast left will be able to land not many people get up after getting hit with it. We have seen that Reyes can be set up and put away. Jiri has been striking his entire life and will have a massive experience edge in this fight. If Reyes isn’t able to get the respect early then, he might be in trouble as well.
My gut says that Dominick Reyes derails the hype train and lands that missile of a left hand, but I believe that the value of this fight is actually on the under. These men are looking to make a statement and throwing with big power and speed. I don’t expect the fight to go on long. The alternate total of the under 2.5 is the play.