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UFC on ESPN 6 card: Chris Weidman vs Dominick Reyes full fight preview and prediction

UFC 230 Weidman v Souza Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight talents Chris Weidman and Dominick Reyes will clash TONIGHT (Fri., Oct. 18, 2019) at UFC on ESPN 6 from inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Middleweights are jumping up to the 205-pound division more and more often, and there are really two ways this can go. Weidman is hoping to travel along the Thiago Santos/Anthony Smith path, in which he’s able to perform better and push a higher pace. However, there is also risk that he gets the Luke Rockhold treatment: battered by a bigger foe and left without a home. On the other hand, Reyes is at the midway point between excellent prospect and bonafide contender. He’s already advanced into the Top 5, but it still seems like he needs more experience before he’s truly ready for the best. Facing a former champion in Weidman will help him along the path, win or lose.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Chris Weidman
Record: 14-4
Key Wins: Anderson Silva (UFC 168, UFC 162), Kelvin Gastelum (UFC on FOX 25), Lyoto Machida (UFC 175), Vitor Belfort (UFC 187)
Key Losses: Luke Rockhold (UFC 194), Yoel Romero (UFC 205), Ronaldo Souza (UFC 230)
Keys to Victory: It’s actually pretty insane to think that Chris Weidman has less than 20 professional fights given all that he’s accomplished (and suffered) in his UFC career. At 35 years of age, Weidman is no spring chicken, but perhaps there is reason to believe the best is yet to come.

Weidman earned his title by thoughtfully closing the distance opposite Southpaw counter strikers and smartly setting up his takedowns. Reyes is nowhere as strict a counter puncher as Silva or Machida, but I would argue the label still applies. Basically, Weidman knows how to win this fight, but it’s a question of execution.

When Weidman is on point, he works the fundamentals expertly. A crisp jab and some kicks raise his opponent’s guard well, and once in on his high-crotch takedown, Weidman is difficult to stop. On the mat, his jiu-jitsu is excellent, and he should have a huge advantage if able to gain top position.

It all reads simply, but can “The All-American” make it happen?

Dominick Reyes

Record: 11-0
Key Wins: Volkan Oezdemir (UFC Fight Night 147), Ovince St. Preux (UFC 229), Jared Cannonier (UFC Fight Night 132), Joachim Christensen (UFC Fight Night 112)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: First and foremost, Reyes is an excellent athlete with an excellent frame for the division. He’s quick, long, and powerful, and he’s making the most of those athletic gifts as a hard-hitting Southpaw with a vicious cross and left kick. In addition, Reyes is quite good at taking an angle and setting up a hard shot as his foe turns to face.

At Middleweight, Weidman was stronger than most of his peers and usually held a significant reach advantage. Reyes can very likely match (if not exceed) Weidman’s physical strength, and their reaches are only an inch separate — a minor difference that Reyes’ kicks will surely make up for.

As such, Reyes should be able to more effectively maintain distance than many of Weidman’s past foes, which should also help him defend takedowns. However, I’d like to see Reyes take the initiative early and push a hard pace. In recent fights, Weidman’s struggles have truly arose as he fatigued. Not only is there a chance Weidman simply succumbs to Reyes’ early power shots, but forcing Weidman to work hard early will increase the odds that it all falls apart for Weidman later in the fight.

The Match Up

It’s an intriguing main event, and hugely important bout for Chris Weidman.

It’s fair to say that Weidman’s status as a contender relies on the outcome of this bout. Fans may scoff at Weidman when he calls out Jon Jones, but a victory here makes a title shot in the near future a fairly realistic option. I don’t like anyone’s chances against “Bones,” but if Weidman can perform to his full potential at 205 pounds, he would be a deserving challenger. Unfortunately, another loss would make it five of his last six, effectively shutting the door on the idea that Weidman can capture another belt.

Expectations around Reyes are high, largely because the division needs contenders for Jon Jones (thus the influx of Middleweights). If Reyes wins here, he’s likely one more victory away from a title shot. However, it’s important to remember that Reyes is just 29 years of age and still young in his pro career. If the former champion is on his game and proves too much for Reyes, it’s really not a huge issue for Reyes’ career — there’s still plenty of time for him to put it all together in the future.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 6 fight card this weekend right HERE, starting with the ESPN 2 “Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will air on ESPN proper at 9 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC on ESPN 6: “Weidman vs. Reyes” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

At UFC on ESPN 6, Chris Weidman and Dominick Reyes will go to war in the main event. Which man will have his hand raised?

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