Dominick Reyes has suffered two straight losses to blemish what had been an undefeated professional record. Now, he’ll come in as an underdog when he takes on light heavyweight title hopeful Jiri Prochazka in the main event of UFC on ESPN 23 this Saturday night.
Prochazka comes in as a -135 favorite over Reyes (+108), according to PointsBet.
Reyes coming off two title losses
While Reyes (12-2) hasn’t won since 2019, his two losses were far from embarrassing. He dropped a controversial decision when challenging the legendary Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title last February. Then, Jan Blachowicz scored a second-round TKO over Reyes in a battle for the vacant title in September.
Given the quality of his opposition, Reyes has only fallen to the No. 3 contender position in the UFC rankings. Still, the 31-year-old says he’s ready to end the losing streak and get back to his winning ways against Prochazka.
|Reyes vs. Prochazka Odds (via PointsBet)|
|Dominick Reyes: +108||Jiri Prochazka: -135|
|Method of Victory|
|Reyes by KO/TKO: +220||Prochazka by KO/TKO: +124|
|Reyes by Submission: +1300||Prochazka by Submission: +1600|
|Reyes by Decision: +580||Prochazka by Decision: +625|
“[I have to] go out there and do my thing, man,” Reyes told Yahoo. “At the end of the day, don’t worry about the bullshit. He’s going to try to come out and overwhelm me and try to create a brawl. But that’s not what I’m going to do.”
Former Rizin champ aiming for UFC belt
Prochazka (27-3-1) held the Rizin FF light heavyweight championship until he left that promotion last year. In his first UFC fight, he started slow but knocked out Volkan Oezdemir in the first minute of the second round to earn performance of the night honors.
Given his track record and that win, Prochazka ranks fifth in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. The 28-year-old Czech fighter is rising through the ranks and says he knows Reyes is especially dangerous.
“He’s a very good athlete, very good striker, and that’s how I’m taking him: seriously, not like I was in the first fight, in the first round,” Prochazka told reporters. “I was a little bit – I took it a little bit easier, and now I want to keep it most professionally how I can.”
Prochazka says he deserves a title shot if he gets past Reyes on Saturday.
“We will see what the next step will be for Jan Blachowicz, if he will go to heavyweight,” Prochazka told MiddleEasy.com. “Then, the title will be free so the winner from our fight, [which will be] me, will fight for the title.”
Reyes looked vulnerable in his fight against Blachowicz, a powerful, athletic fighter who can pile on the pressure for extended periods of time. While Prochazka hasn’t proven he’s at Blachowicz’s level just yet, he offers the same sort of challenge. On the other hand, Prochazka hasn’t yet fought a fighter of Reyes’ level yet, so there’s the question of how well his game will translate against elite competition.
Saturday’s card features 12 fights in total. In the co-main event, featherweight Giga Chikadze (-175) enters as a favorite over Cub Swanson (+140) in a battle of two fighters looking to stay in the division’s top 15.