- Date & Location: Saturday Sept. 26 @ Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi
- Odds: Dominick Reyes (-260) vs. Jan Blachowicz (+200) via Bovada
- Prediction: Reyes by decision
In mid-August, Jon Jones vacated the UFC light heavyweight title. With that, the UFC will have its first 205-pound champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier since Jones scored a TKO win over Mauricio Rua in March 2011. That champion will be decided on September 26 when the No. 1 ranked Dominic Reyes faces Jan Blachowicz, who is the No. 3 ranked fighter in the official UFC light heavyweight rankings.
Reyes last competed in February when he went five rounds with Jones. Jones won that contest, but it was close enough that many MMA media members scored the fight for Reyes. The loss was the first of Reyes’ 13-fight MMA career. Blachowicz has been with the UFC since 2014. He’s had an up and down run with the promotion. He started his UFC career with a 2-4 record, but since October 2017, Blachowicz has gone 7-1. His most recent win was a February knockout victory over Corey Anderson.
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REYES vs. BLACHOWICZ ODDS
|Fighter||Odds (via Bovada)|
REYES vs. BLACHOWICZ PREDICTION & PICK
At 37, Blachowicz is on the best run of his career, but he has struggled in the past with top talents and it’s hard to find a win on his record against an opponent who compares to the 30-year-old Reyes. Another concern for Blachowicz is that he has 34 fights on his record. That’s a lot more mileage than Reyes, who only has 13 bouts to his name.
Before facing Jones, Reyes had not been in a five-round bout. Now that he knows what that feels like and what part of his fighting style led to his loss to Jones, I expect to see an improved version of Reyes in this matchup. I think he will do a lot more attacking and that he will be more aggressive in his striking.
I believe this fight is Reyes’ to lose and that he is the better all around fighter.
Pick: Reyes by decision.
BETTING VALUE WITH REYES
Most of Reyes’ wins have come via knockout. He has seven knockout victories, two submission and three decision triumphs on his record. However, most of his stoppages came outside the UFC or against fighters outside the light heavyweight top-15. With that, I feel comfortable saying Reyes will win by decision. However, there is a chance of a knockout win, especially if Reyes gets the fight to the ground, which is where Blachowicz is at his weakest.
Blachowicz has seven knockout wins. Two of those came in his three most recent fights. So, there is a chance he catches Reyes. I don’t think the odds of that are very high, as Blachowicz is a slower fighter than Reyes. Reyes should be able to create time and space to avoid most of the power of his opponent.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Reyes is younger, faster and a better striker. He also has more tools than Blachowicz and more routes to victory. As for statistics, Reyes lands more significant strikes per minute and that could be the biggest key to winning this fights, since I believe it will mostly be fought on the feet.
I also can’t underestimate what 25 minutes in the cage opposite Jon Jones did for Reyes’ confidence and what he learned from that time.
It’s difficult to find a way Blachowicz wins this fight unless he catches Reyes slipping.
FIGHT STATS: REYES vs. BLACHOWICZ
|Dominick Reyes||Category||Jan Blachowicz|
|4.88||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||3.45|
|3.00||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.77|
|0.24||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||1.16|
|0.2||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.3|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
With Jon Jones focusing on moving up to heavyweight and Daniel Cormier retired, this fight will crown the light heavyweight champion. But more importantly, this matchup begins a new chapter in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. No longer will fans just assume that Jones or Cormier will trade the title back and forth. This contest should mark a new era of competition and excitement in the 205-pound weight class.