The man who some thought defeated the greatest Light Heavyweight of all time, Dominick Reyes, got another crack at Jon Jones’ 205-pound belt tonight (Sat., Sept. 26, 202) at UFC 253, which took place inside Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. However, it was the belt that Jones vacated earlier this year (details), meaning he had to topple the next-best contender not named Thiago Santos, non other than Polish powerhouse, Jan Blachowicz.
Better luck next time?
Indeed, Błachowicz, 37 — who has enjoyed a late career resurgence — was just too much for Reyes, battering his body and then separating him from his senses en route to a super impressive second round stoppage.
Błachowicz started with a low kick, while Reyes circled calmly from his Southpaw stance. Reyes uncorked a high kick, then another big shot, which Błachowicz was able to avoid ... just barely. Błachowicz backed Reyes up against the cage, unloading an overhand right then a hard kick to Reyes’ mid-section. Błachowicz scored with another left kick, while Rreyes responded with a stiff straight right upstairs. Błachowicz clipped him with a right hand, then another hard left kick that had Reyes moving backward. Reyes looked to get something going late, but he was content to bob and weave and try his luck in round two. Perhaps those crushing kicks to the ribs took some steam out of him early.
Reyes came out more aggressive in the second stanza, throwing an array of strikes that back up Błachowicz. The Pole countered with a barrage of his own, back up Reyes with the combination upstairs that ended with another left kick to the body. Błachowicz barreled in with a combination, dropping a hard right cross on Reyes’ jaw. In response, Reyes went low with the kicks. Reyes began to heat up with two minutes in the round, mixing up kicks high and low, as well putting together his combinations better. Błachowicz responded with yet another kick to Reyes’ ribs, which started to resemble raw ground beef. Błachowicz then opened up along the cage, but Reyes was game, returning fire. Błachowicz got the better of it though, big time, connecting with a huge left hook that wobbled Reyes. He corkscrewed to the bottom of the cage, dazed and terribly confused, while Błachowicz followed him to the canvas. He dropped a few head bouncers and the referee had no choice but to call it quits.
So for the first time in nearly a decade, there’s a new Light Heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones and/or Daniel Cormier. No pressure, Jan!
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