We’ve got a light heavyweight banger for UFC Vegas Saturday night. Contenders Dominick Reyes (12-2-0) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) meet for a potential title shot on the line. Prochazka is the betting favorite here at -140 while Reyes’ underdog price is +110.
As far as stylistic matchups go, this one is dynamite. Both Reyes and Prochazka are strikers who have a combined 31 knockouts. Reyes has a 58.3% knockout rate while Prochazka’s is a whopping 88.89% with all but three of his wins coming via KO.
Buckle up and expect this fight to get finished. But if we’re picking a fighter, I have to side with Prochazka by a hair.
- Date: Saturday, May 1, 10 p.m. ET
- Venue: UFC Apex, Enterprise, NA, United States
- Watch on: ESPN+
Dominick Reyes vs Jiri Prochazka
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight (205)
Rounds: Five (Main Event)
Odds: Reyes +110, Prochazka -140
This is an unofficial title eliminator depending on how the winner wins. A spectacular KO victory for either would propel them to a championship bout against the winner of Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira at UFC 266.
The UFC betting odds should feature props where this fight does not go to decision and that line will get steamed quickly so nab it when it opens. Both fighters have clear paths to victory here. It’s just a matter of avoiding the countless landmines each will set against each other.
Reyes: Redemption Tour
Reyes didn’t just get caught by Blachowicz’s “Polish Power.” He got caught overlooking him. Hats off to “The Devastator” as he gave the great Jon Jones a run for his money. But every fight is different and this unforgiving sport can throw curveballs at you.
Now Reyes finds himself at a tough spot and facing a dangerous opponent. But if he is championship-worthy, Reyes should rise to this occasion and put on his best performance.
It’s one thing to be an undefeated prospect head kicking opponents and going viral on the internet. But once that aura of invincibility wears off, especially when you just got knocked out, it can do all kinds of things to a fighter’s psyche.
Still, if Reyes recaptures his killer instinct and is hungry, he will be a tough out. He is known for his devastating kicks, but he’s also a high-volume striker who attacks from many angles. He is long and fast and can wrestle, which should be a trump card for him.
Prochazka: One Knockout Away
Prochazka is what the light heavyweight division ordered. The guy is crazy and built to entertain. He had quite the debut against Volkan Oezdemir and against this guy, notorious for his one-punch KO power, stuck his chin at him and absorbed 7.05 significant strikes per minute (SApM).
That is a wild man. Prochazka has the striking pedigree to back up his wild stunts. The 28-year-old was offered a contract with the UFC earlier in his career but turned out so he can get seasoned and dominate in Rizin.
Prochazka lost to former Strikeforce champion Muhammad Lawal in 2015 then rattled off 10 straight victories, nine by KO including one over Lawal in a rematch and some over former UFC veterans. The Czech Muay Thai fighter won gold at the 2011 National Championships and has been training since he was 16.
If he has a weakness, it would be the ground game where he’s unproven. But so far no opponent in the last seven years or so has managed to test this and there is a solid chance the lanky and explosive fighter can bounce back if taken down.
Just like the Namajunas and Zhang fight last Saturday, expect someone to get finished in a highlight reel. Although both fighters have iron chins, their finishing ability is just too good. Reyes’ best bet here is to mix up his wrestling with his striking. That could confuse Prochazka a bit and he can score some takedowns and maybe finish him on the ground.
Prochazka needs to keep the fight standing and keep Reyes off of him. There is a good chance Reyes will try to grind him down by pushing him up against the fence and/or shooting for takedowns. But Prochazka will be ready for it.
I like Reyes to outlast Prochazka here and even get a finish after he’s worn out the Czech striker. However, Prochazka dishes out some serious power. He put out Oezdemir with one punch and could do the same to Reyes if and when he catches him on the counter.
For additional value, look for the prop bet for Prochazka to win by a finish.