UFC light heavyweight contender Dominick Reyes is scheduled to fight the Czech Republic's own Jiri Prochazka at UFC Fight Night 191 scheduled to take place on May 1, 2021 according to MMA Fighting. The UFC has not made an official announcement about the bout as of February 18, 2021.
Originally scheduled to take place at UFC Fight Night 186 on February 27, 2021, the fight between No. 3 ranked Dominick Reyes (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and No. 5 ranked Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was postponed after Reyes pulled out of the fight due to undisclosed injuries.
Considering the fact that No.1 ranked Glover Teixeira is waiting for his shot at the title and No. 2 ranked Thiago Santos is scheduled to fight No.4 ranked Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259, it makes perfect sense to keep the pairing between Reyes and Prochazka intact to fight another day rather than calling off the bout.
After a strong start to his MMA career with an undefeated 12-0 record, fortunes turned for Dominick Reyes in 2020 as the 31-year-old dropped two title fights in a row against former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and reigning champion Jan Blachowicz. The Apple Valley native will attempt to gain momentum back with a win over Jiri Prochazka.
Reyes' opponent Jiri Prochazka is a former light heavyweight champion in the Japanese promotion Rizin. One of the most active fighters in MMA, Prochazka has 31 professional MMA fights under his belt at a mere 28 years of age. He made his UFC debut in July 2020 against No.7 ranked fighter Volkan Oezdemir and paved his way into the top five of the division with a second-round knockout win.
The fight between Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka is an interesting stylistic affair. Prochazka is an aggressive finisher, and 26 of his 27 professional wins have come by way of a knockout or submission.
Dominick Reyes, on the other hand, is a fighter who takes a more measured approach to fights by forming a strategy that capitalizes on his opponents' vulnerabilities. His ability to work around opponent's skillsets was on full display in the title fight against Jon Jones.
How close was Dominick Reyes' fight with Jon Jones?
Dominick Reyes earned the first opportunity to fight for the UFC title against Jon Jones at UFC 247 in February 2020 after a six-fight unbeaten run in the UFC.
Dominick Reyes made a strong start to the fight, outstriking Jon Jones 82 to 58 in terms of significant strikes that landed in the first three rounds and denying the champion any takedowns. Jon Jones rallied in the later rounds, securing one takedown each in the fourth and fifth rounds while outstriking Reyes 46 to 34 in terms of significant strikes landed.
Jon Jones emerged as the winner of the fight on all three judges' scorecards (48-47, 48-47, 49-46), which means all three judges scored at least three rounds in the champion's favor. It is a questionable decision if the official stats of the fight are taken into account.
Awarding wins to fighters who bag later rounds is a common outcome in UFC title fights but the trend is unwarranted. Fights in the UFC are scored round-by-round and not as a whole. Therefore a win has to be awarded to the fighter who wins the majority of rounds, irrespective of whether he wins the early rounds or the later ones. As a result, although Dominick Reyes lost to Jon Jones, a strong argument can be made in his favor.
But despite a lackluster performance against Dominick Reyes, Jon Jones has to be regarded as one of the best light heavyweights of all time. Jones' performance at UFC 247 was a result of the evolution of the sport. MMA is a rapidly evolving sport and each new generation of fighters renders the previous one ineffective. Therefore the greatest threat to a dominant fighter always comes from the next generation. Fighters like Dominick Reyes have watched Jon Jones compete throughout his career and picked up on aspects of his game that older fighters could not.