Former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Dominick Reyes says he knocked Jiří Procházka out cold in their main event bout at UFC Vegas 25.
Having gone 12-0 in his career, a record which included UFC wins over Jared Cannonier, Volkan Oezdemir, and Chris Weidman, Reyes fell to his first career defeat in a controversial decision loss against former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones.
After “Bones” relinquished the belt to pursue a move to heavyweight, most expected “The Devastator” to have the vacant 205-pound gold wrapped around his waist when he faced Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253. Instead, Reyes was finished in the second round, succumbing him to a two-fight losing skid.
After over seven months away from the cage, Reyes hoped to return to title contention with an impressive performance against relative newcomer Procházka. Despite putting on a Fight of the Year contender alongside the Czech powerhouse, it was “Denisa” who had his hand raised via knockout.
While he may have secured a remarkable spinning back elbow KO, many in the MMA community pointed out that Procházka appeared to be hurt by a Reyes upkick prior to the fight-ending sequence.
During an interview with Combat Sports on Fanatics View, Reyes suggested that the #2-ranked light heavyweight was completely unconscious following the kick. The 31-year-old said Procházka’s dead weight prevented him from taking advantage of the quick KO.
“Yeah, I upkicked him really hard, and he went out fully. And I knew he was out, but I couldn’t move properly because of the way he fell on me. It made it so I couldn’t advance position or take advantage of it. But hey, man, the guy’s fuckin’ a beast. He did his thing. For me to fight guys like Jiři is everything, man. I’m trying to fight the best guys in the world and guys that are good human beings, that are down with the cause. He’s a samurai, man. He’s got the warrior spirit all the way around. And I got nothing but respect for the guy.”
Speaking about the entire fight, Reyes suggested he knew the matchup would be an exciting back-and-forth affair when the pair stood face-to-face ahead of the headlining bout.
“It’s one of those things where we looked at each other in the pre-fight face-off, and I knew it was gonna be a great fight, man. I was looking him in the eyes, and we’re just standing there looking at each other, and I’m like, yeah, this is gonna be freakin’ awesome, man. We’re not gonna quit. I knew I (wasn’t) gonna quit. Looking in his eyes, I knew he’s not ever gonna quit. And I was like, ‘Hell yeah, this is gonna be a good fight.’ That’s what I’m looking for, man,, those guys that are willing to die for it.”
Despite only making two appearances inside the Octagon, brutal KO victories over Oezdemir and Reyes have ascended Procházka to just one spot behind top contender Glover Teixeira. The Brazilian veteran is in fine form and will challenge for the title in the UFC 267 main event later this month.
While the likes of Thiago Santos and Aleksandar Rakić have pushed for a booking with the Czech star, Procházka has made his intentions clear. He’ll serve as the backup fighter for Blachowicz’s second title defense on October 30, and anticipates a championship fight against the victor in 2022.
Do you think Jiří Procházka should face the winner of Blachowicz vs. Teixeira for the light heavyweight gold?