vs Chris Weidman
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 162
29 years old Dominick Reyes is coming back after a close controversial split decision win against Volkan Oezdemir in March 2019. He is a dangerous striker and is starting to make some noise in the light heavyweight division, as he is ranked as no. 4 in the UFC light heavyweight rankings. Chris Weidman had his last fight in November 2018 against Ronaldo „Jacaré“ Souza, that he lost in the third round via KO. It was a back-and-forth fight worth of a Fight of the Night bonus. Weidman only had 3 fights in the last 30 months, which could be very worrying.
As mentioned before, Dominick Reyes is a dangerous striker and a rising star in the UFC. He finished 3 opponents out of 5 in the UFC and every UFC finish came within the first round. He is a pressure fighter, taking the center on the octagon early and dictating the pace of the fight. Being primarily a striker, he does not go for a lot of takedowns, in fact he only successfully completed 1 takedown in his 5 UFC fights. Yet actually he has not been tested too much on, how well can he do on the ground. He did submit Jeremy Kimball, but to be fair, Kimball offered Reyes his back for a Rear Naked Choke. If we focus on his striking abilities, he had some devastating kicks, hence the nickname „Devastator“. Another of his advantages could be that he is a southpaw and Weidman does not have a great history with southpaws (2 wins of Anderson Silva, but losses against Rockhold, Romero, dropped in the first round by undersized Gastelum).
Chris Weidman is a pure american wrestling product. He competed in the NCAA Division I in Wrestling and was trying out for the Olympic team. His main strength is grappling. He has so many ways on how to take the opponent down. Weidman for example took Yoel Romero (an Olympic wrestler) multiple times, before Romero hit him with an unbelievable flying knee. Weidman however does not have a great chin. He can take some beating, but Jacaré dropped Weidman cold in their last fight. We can see some justification for his career losses. For example against Rockhold, he was „winning“ (he was on top of Rockhold and taking him down multiple times), but then Weidman tried some spinning wheel kick, that he never did before in the professional career and that costed him a fight. Then he lost against Romero which was already discussed. Against Mousasi it seemed like Weidman was trying to win by disqualification, which backfired extremely badly for Weidman. And against Jacaré, it was a stand-up match, which if it went to the decision, he could have won it. He probably just had some bad luck. He is not however a great striker. In fact he does rely way too much on wrestling and grappling.
The way we see this fight going is that these two fighters won’t need a judges‘ decision to decide a winner. There are some factors that favors Reyes. For instance, the fight is in light heavyweight division. For Weidman it will be the first time, that he fights in the 205 division. He probably won’t cut too much weight, so he could put some more muscle and strength, but it probably should not matter, since his chin is weak. Another Reyes has momentum on his back. He is undefeated, young, hungry for that title shot against Jon Jones. With the win over Weidman, and with a finish, we think he could get it, which he is definitely aware of.
Weidman will most likely try to take Reyes down and try to hold him there as long as possible. As mentioned before, nobody really knows, how good Reyes is on the ground. If it actually goes to the ground and Weidman would be on top, the fight could be finished with submission or ground and pound TKO/KO. However, it is not that likely, since every fight and every round start on the feet and in stand-up, Reyes is clearly better.
What is interesting, Reyes has a 1 inch reach disadvantage despite being by 2 inches taller, but that should not matter too much. Most likely this fight will end by TKO/KO, since Reyes has some incredible power in his hands and he’s a very good striker. Weidman again is not great at striking a his chin is not that durable. However, it could be very interesting, how well Reyes will pace himself, since it will be his first 5 round fight, and that could play a huge factor.