MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN 6, a five-round light heavyweight bout between Dominick Reyes and Chris Weidman. The event takes place Friday, October 18 at TD Arena in Boston, Massachusetts.
Dominick Reyes (-165)
Reyes (11-0) is one of the top rising contenders in the UFC light heavyweight division. The 29-year-old American has had a terrific start to his MMA career. He won the first six fights of his career on the regional scene from 2014 to 2017 before being signed by the UFC. Since signing with the UFC, Reyes has continued his winning ways by going 5-0 with notable victories over Jared Cannonier, Ovince Saint Preux and Volkan Oezdemir. Reyes is a huge light heavyweight with a very well rounded and dangerous game. He has slick submission skills on the mat to go along with a strong striking attack on the feet, making him a dangerous matchup for almost anyone at 205lbs. He is quickly moving up the ranks in the light heavyweight division and a win here over Weidman could earn him a title shot. Reyes is getting a tremendous opportunity to headline a big ESPN card, and this event in UFC Boston could be his coming-out party if he can defeat Weidman in impressive fashion.
Chris Weidman (+145)
Weidman (14-4) is the former UFC middleweight champion. The 35-year-old American was the man who ended Anderson Silva’s reign as champion and from 2013 to 2015 Weidman was the man at 185lbs. In fact, he was unbeaten in his first 13 MMA fights on the strength of a well-rounded game with wrestling, striking and submission skills. Then the downfall started. A TKO loss to Luke Rockhold saw Weidman lose his belt and he followed that up with two more TKO losses to Yoel Romero and Gegard Mousasi. A submission win over Kelvin Gastelum got Weidman back on track, but another knockout loss to Ronaldo Souza sent Weidman packing up from the middleweight division and up to light heavyweight. He is in his mid 30s now and not the same fighter he was five years ago. He has taken quite a bit of damage and his chin is no longer able to absorb heavy shots from big hitters. Still, he believes moving up in weight will give him a fresh start, and it’s possible. Weidman is still a very skilled fighter with a well-rounded skillset, it’s just that his chin hasn’t held up for him. This fight against Reyes should be a good test to see where Weidman stands at 205lbs. A win and he immediately becomes a fresh title contender for Jon Jones. But another knockout loss and retirement could loom.
Fight Breakdown: Although I’m curious to see how Weidman fares moving up to 205lbs, I really don’t like this matchup for him against an undefeated stud like Reyes. Weidman’s biggest issue the last few years has been his chin, and unfortunately for “The All-American” I don’t think moving up in weight and fighting a knockout artist like Reyes will go well for him. Reyes is a massive light heavyweight who packs a big punch and if he can connect with Weidman’s chin he should be able to knock him out. Four of Weidman’s last five fights have ended with him getting finished with strikes, and I’m confident if Reyes connects he will put him out. Much like when Luke Rockhold moved up in weight and carried his chin issues there, I see the same thing happening here to Weidman. Although the fight is scheduled for five rounds, I see Reyes ending it inside the distance with a TKO win.
Prediction: Dominick Reyes wins via TKO