The Ultimate Fighter
A week from Saturday, Dominick Reyes will enter the Octagon at Toyota Center in Houston to challenge Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 247. It’s the culmination of a UFC journey that began six fights ago for “The Devastator,” and it’s a journey we recap below with our fight night reports.
Highly touted light heavyweight prospect Dominick Reyes lived up to his “Devastator” nickname, knocking out Denmark’s Joachim Christensen in the first round.
Fighting for only the seventh time as a pro, Reyes went on the attack immediately, and after rocking Christensen, he refused to let him off the hook, with a big straight left hand being the catalyst for referee Gary Ritter to halt the fight 29 seconds into the bout.
Unbeaten Dominick Reyes continued to impress in light heavyweight action, scoring a first-round submission of Jeremy Kimball.
Kimball went to work immediately, closing the distance on his foe and scoring with a quick slam before locking up against the fence. Reyes turned the table and took Kimball down, landing some strikes before taking his opponent’s back in a scramble. Reyes fired off elbows from that position before locking in the rear naked choke that ended the fight at the 3:39 mark.
Rising light heavyweight star Dominick Reyes made another statement, stopping veteran Jared Cannonier in the first round to make it three first-round finishes in as many Octagon bouts.
Both fighters came out swinging and kicking to start the bout, Reyes taking an early lead thanks to his volume, but Cannonier getting in enough shots to keep his foe honest. Just past the midway point of the stanza, Reyes stunned Cannonier with a left uppercut and he proceeded to chase his rubbery-legged foe until another left uppercut dropped the Arizonan hard to the mat, with referee Marc Goddard stepping in to stop the fight at the 2:55 mark of round one.
Unbeaten Dominick Reyes delivered another big win in light heavyweight action, shutting out perennial contender Ovince Saint Preux over three rounds.
Reyes impressed in the first round, with his early striking attack prompting Saint Preux to look for a takedown. He got one, but Reyes jumped up immediately and proceeded to land hard elbows in the clinch before jarring OSP with kicks and punches, wrapping up a winning opening frame.
The pace slowed in the second and third, but Reyes still remained in control with his striking as he held off the bloodied OSP’s takedown attempts. At end of the round, Reyes landed a flush left that dropped Saint Preux, but the horn intervened, sending the bout to the scorecards, where Reyes earned a 30-27 score from each judge.
Dominick Reyes had to dig deep to keep his unbeaten record intact, but he did just that as he pounded out a three-round split decision over fellow light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29.
It was an interesting first round between the two 205-pound standouts and a tough one to score, as Reyes got in his shots and showed off some solid defense while Oezdemir stalked and landed his own strikes while also scoring a takedown in the first five minutes.
Oezdemir and Reyes traded takedown attempts that came up empty in the second, opting then to go back to their tactical striking match. While upright, Switzerland’s Oezdemir’s experience was beginning to show, and Reyes’ nose was apparently bothering him, as he was breathing through his mouth and pawing at the nose.
Fatigue appeared to catch up to Oezdemir in the third round as Reyes got his second wind, and while there wasn’t a lot of sustained action, California’s Reyes was the busier of the two, and two of the three judges agreed.
In a spectacular main event performance at TD Garden in Boston, Dominick Reyes spoiled the light heavyweight debut of Chris Weidman and made his case for a shot at the 205-pound title by stopping the former middleweight champion in less than a round.
“I was out there having fun, feeling loose, he came in and I put him down,” said Reyes.
Reyes scored with a kick to start the bout, only to get grounded by Weidman. Reyes got up quickly, but the Long Islander stayed locked on his foe until the two broke with 90 seconds left. As they separated, Reyes clipped Weidman with a sharp left hand and dropped him. As Weidman tried to recover, Reyes took his time and picked his shots, and a series of hammerfists stunned the former champ once again, bringing in referee Herb Dean to halt the bout at 1:43 of round one.
“That’s the game we play,” said Weidman. “I’ll be back better.”