Dominick Reyes was heavily favored to win the light heavyweight title when he went to war against longtime 205-pound veteran Jan Blachowicz in the UFC 253 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event last night (Sat., Sept. 26, 2020) on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.
Instead, “The Devastator” lost in devastating fashion.
Outside of Blachowicz and his team, the next happiest person might have been former division kingpin Jon Jones, who vacated the strap earlier this year after failing to come to terms on his next fight, though a heavyweight debut is expected in 2021.
“Apple Valley Champ, keep your head up,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Shit’s not as easy as it looks. Be cocky eat cocky. I’m gonna need some Dominic bandwagon memes. Jan enjoy my friend, congratulations.”
I don’t think anyone expected a high-level troll like Jones to keep it classy and in his defense, Reyes set himself up for this sort of reaction, constantly ripping into “Bones” after losing a close split decision in the UFC 247 headliner earlier this year.
The “Apple Valley” barb came from the UFC 247 build up when Reyes clung to the narrative that Jones had never faced an athlete of his caliber, despite the fact that “Bones” had already fought (and defeated) and Olympic wrestler and a Division-1 football player.
“Dominick Reyes, one of the greatest athletes in Apple Valley history,” Jones said back in February. “Beating up on cans has got him convinced he’s a better athlete than most of the world. If he was so badass he would’ve won the California state wrestling championships, he would’ve went division one. He would have at least made a practice squad for the NFL. This man is delusional.”
You can argue that Reyes was at least a little delusional in the wake of his Jones fight, claiming he was the “people’s champion” and uncrowned king of the 205-pound division, despite the fact that coming into UFC 253, “The Devastator” had only beaten one fighter currently ranked in the Top 15.
And it was a very close fight.
Reyes was rightfully favored over Blachowicz as the Polish power puncher had proved to be dangerous but inconsistent during the last couple of years. I think that’s what made his victory more impressive, as he was able to step it up in the most important fight of his life.
Blachowicz finally proved he was worthy of Jones ... one fight too late.
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