Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight knockout artists Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka will go to war TONIGHT (Sat., May 1, 2021) at UFC Vegas 25 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It was a strange year for “The Devastator” in 2020, putting on the best performance of his career opposite Jon Jones before promptly getting walloped by Jan Blachowicz. Winless (0-2) in two title fights, Reyes has to return to the win column here if he’s to remain a player at 205 pounds. On the other hand, Prochazka had about as good a debut as possible. In an exciting battle, the former Rizin champ absolutely flattened former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir, putting himself directly into the title mix with a single win.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Volkan Oezdemir (UFC Fight Night 147), Chris Weidman (UFC on ESPN 6), Ovince St. Preux (UFC 229), Jared Cannonier (UFC Fight Night 132), Joachim Christensen (UFC Fight Night 112)
Key Losses: Jan Blachowicz (UFC Vegas 25), Jon Jones (UFC 247)
Keys to Victory: Reyes is a great natural athlete with an excellent frame for 205 pounds. The Southpaw has serious power in both his left hand and left leg, and he plays those two threats off each other wonderfully.
In this bout, Reye has to be landing kicks. He’s fighting the rare opponent that can exceed his height and reach, but Prochazka likes to box more than kick. If Reyes is the one making full use of all his available weapons, he’ll still be able to fight long and walk Prochazka into counters.
Historically, the right low kick is a great weapon opposite Prochazka, but as a Southpaw, Reyes should be ripping left kicks to the liver and inner thigh. Since Prochazka stands rather hunched, those body kicks should be hugely effective. As an alternate idea, Reyes could look to throw lead leg side kicks to the knee, as Prochazka stands very side-on — think Darren Till vs. Stephen Thompson.
It’s not going to take many kicks to convince Prochazka to chase. Footwork is a historic strength of Reyes, and it will be key here. He absolutely cannot back up on straight lines, as Prochazka will build combinations and land big. If Reyes is instead able to take angles as he retreats, he may just find a fight-ending shot while on the defensive.
Key Wins: Volkan Oezdemir (UFC 251), Vadim Nemkov (Rizin World Grand Prix 2015), CB Dollaway (Rizin 20), Muhammad Lawal (Rizin 15)
Key Losses: Muhammad Lawal (Rizin World Grand Prix 2015)
Keys to Victory: Prochazka is an absolute wild man. He fights with a certain fearlessness that is usually only found in unbeaten young fighters, but Prochazka has 30 pro fights! The Czech puncher fires rangy power punches in high numbers, shifting between stances smoothly to gain new angles.
He’s stopped 24 of his opponents via knockout.
Reyes is seriously slick from the outside, but as Blachowicz demonstrated, he doesn’t much like extended exchanges in the pocket. If his pull counter doesn’t end the trading, Reyes tends to stand with his head a bit too high or lean his way out of the boxing range. Prochazka is well prepared to take advantage of those habits, and it only takes one with his power.
Otherwise, I’d like to see Prochazka walk the line between pushing the pace and putting himself in dangerous. Reyes hits seriously hard himself, and that has to be considered. One of Prochazka’s major weapons in this bout is his ability to throw volume for a long time and maintain his power late, but those traits seldom matter if he’s caught getting too aggressive inside the opening 10 minutes.
This is very possibly a title eliminator.
For Reyes, that opportunity depends upon the outcome of Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira. A single victory likely isn’t enough to earn him a second taste of “Polish Power,” but he has no such history with Teixeira. If Reyes impresses here and hands Prochazka his first loss in several years, he’s definitely right back in the title mix.
As for Prochazka, victory should absolutely earn him a title shot. In his athletic prime and already on one hell of a tear, Prochazka is one of the most exciting fighters competing. If he can score a second consecutive stoppage over a former title challenger in his first main event slot, it would be hard to deny the Czech athlete his chance at UFC gold.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 25 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+/ESPN2 “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+/ESPN2 at 10 p.m. ET.
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At UFC Vegas 25, Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka will throw down in the main event. Which man will earn the victory?