Dominick Reyes will look to continue his ascent up the UFC light heavyweight rankings as he takes on former middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on ESPN 6 in Boston on Friday night.
Weidman is making his debut as a light heavyweight, which explains why he is unranked in the division despite the fact that he is likely Reyes’ toughest test to date.
Weidman Sees Quick Path to Title Shot
Four years ago, Weidman (14-4) was 13-0, and had successfully defended the UFC middleweight championship three times, with the last defense coming against Vitor Belfort at UFC 187. But Weidman would lose that title to Luke Rockhold in December 2015, and has never really been the same since.
Over the past four years, Weidman has gone just 1-4 at middleweight, though the level of competition he faced has kept him ranked in the top 10 of that division. That prompted the 35-year-old to move up to the 205 lb. division instead, where he thinks he could quickly earn a title shot if he can prove himself against Reyes.
“If it’s up to me, I dominate Dominick Reyes and I go against Jon Jones,” Weidman told UFC Unfiltered last week. “All the guys kind of ranked in the top five, I feel like Jon Jones has kind of beat most of them already. It does kind of give me the ability to kind of skip the rankings a little bit and jump up there. If the UFC and the fans and everyone thinks it makes sense. But first thing’s first, I gotta prove myself in the weight class. Otherwise none of this matters.”
Reyes Questions Weidman’s Chin
Reyes (11-0) has established himself as a promising prospect. After dominating lesser competition, he moved to the UFC in 2017, and has compiled a 5-0 record in the promotion, moving him up to No. 4 in the light heavyweight rankings. His last win, over ranked contender Volkan Oezdemir, was also his toughest: a split decision victory in which Reyes showed he could withstand the pressure of a legitimate world class opponent.
UFC on ESPN 6 Odds
- Dominick Reyes (-174) vs. Chris Weidman (+142)
- Yair Rodriguez (-110) vs. Jeremy Stephens (-110)
- Greg Hardy (-270) vs. Ben Sosoli (+210)
- Joe Lauzon (+138) vs. Jonathan Pearce (-170)
- Maycee Barber (-130) vs. Gillian Robertson (+106)
- Deron Winn (-126) vs. Darren Stewart (+104)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Now the 29-year-old gets to fight a household name, if one that is somewhat past his prime. And with Weidman having suffered knockout losses in four of his list five fights, Reyes thinks he knows exactly how he’ll get the win on Friday.
“Will his chin hold up? I don’t think it will,” Reyes told reporters. “He’s been in some real wars, man – a lot of wars. These fights aren’t just like quick fights…he’s fighting, he’s bleeding, he’s getting shots. Every shot takes a little bit off your energy bar.”
Reyes comes into the bout as a -174 favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, though it wouldn’t be shocking for Weidman (+142) to hand the prospect his first loss. While Weidman’s chin is indeed in question, and Reyes could score a knockout victory at any time, Weidman should have the advantage when it comes to wrestling and ground work. That may make a submission victory the most likely route to an upset for the former champion.