- Jiri Prochazka defeated Dominick Reyes at the main event of UFC Vegas 25 on Saturday night.
- Prochazka and Reyes stood toe to toe for nearly two rounds before Prochazka flattened Reyes with a spinning back elbow.
- The Czech has now positioned himself for a title shot against the winner of Blachowicz vs Teixeira.
Jiri Prochazka went to war with Dominick Reyes on Saturday night. He walked away with arguably the biggest win of his MMA career.
Fighting the 3rd best light heavyweight in the UFC in his first UFC headliner, the 28-year old Czech mixed martial artist put on a show as he established himself as one of the elites in the UFC’s 205-pound division.
Spectacular Spinning Back Elbow KO
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) May 2, 2021
Prochazka stopped former light heavyweight title challenger Dominick Reyes in the second round of their scheduled five-rounder. The two Top 5 light heavyweights traded big shots for nearly two rounds in a barn burner. However, Prochazka hurt Reyes with a an elbow strike over the top and followed it up with a spectacular spinning back elbow that knocked Reyes out.
The Devastator was so devastated by the elbow strike that he was was out for a while on the canvass before finally getting up on his stool. The loss was the third straight defeat for Reyes who had lost two straight championship fights heading to Saturday’s contest. Reyes opened his career with a 12-0 record before losing to Jon Jones at UFC 247. He challenged for the vacant belt at UFC 253 but was knocked out by current champion Jan Blachowicz.
As for Prochazka, the victory was his second in as many appearances with the UFC. The former Rizin FF light heavyweight champion also knocked out Volkan Oezdemir in his UFC debut at UFC 251. He has now won 12 consecutive bouts since he was knocked out by Muhammed Lawal at the Rizin FF World Grand Prix in 2015.
Title Shot Next?
— UFC (@ufc) May 2, 2021
The victory over the 3rd ranked Reyes puts the 5th ranked Prochazka in a position where he could be the next light heavyweight title challenger. Current champion Jan Blachowicz is the -250 betting favorite at SportsBetting.ag to beat Glover Teixeira (+210) at UFC 266 on September 4th.
The likes of Aleksandr Rakic and Anthony Smith will surely dispute Prochazka’s claim for a title shot. Rakic has beaten Smith and Thiago Santos in succession and has risen to no. 2 in the UFC’s light heavyweight rankings. Meanwhile, the 6th ranked Lionheart has won back to back fights since losing to Rakic.
But Prochazka didn’t just produce the Fight of the Night on Saturday. His brawl against a former two-time title challenger in Smith, though a short one, will most certainly figure in the Fight of the Year conversation in December. His spinning back elbow knockout was only the third one in the history of the UFC. With a performance like that, you can’t put him on ice and deny him a title shot in his next fight.