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UFC Vegas: Reyes vs Prochazka - May 1 🇺🇸


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Saturday 1st May at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas...

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Dominick Reyes vs Jiri Prochazka

Cub Swanson vs Giga Chikadze

Ion Cutelaba vs Dustin Jacoby

Sean Strickland vs Krzysztof Jotko 

Merab Dvalishvili vs Cody Stamann

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Randa Markos vs Luana Pinheiro

TJ Brown vs Kai Kamaka III 

Poliana Botelho vs Luana Carolina

Loma Lookboonmee vs Sam Hughes

Andreas Michailidis vs KB Bhullar

Felipe Colares vs Luke Sanders 

 

Like I say every time, don’t put too much stock into the bout order. I’m going off that Marcel Dorff’s listing on Twitter for now but it’ll change by the time we hit fight week. Then no doubt change again when fights inevitably drop off at the eleventh hour. What’s there is alright though. Not the deepest in terms of quality throughout the card but there’s enough to sink your teeth into.

 

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Dominick Reyes vs Jiri Prochazka is your 5 round main event. Good stuff. This was originally supposed to go down in late February but Reyes picked up an injury and had to withdraw just a few weeks out. Glad they’ve rescheduled it. Big fight for Reyes this. He went 12-0 at the start of his career with wins over Chris Weidman, Ovince Saint Preux and Jared Cannonier. Things were going well. He bagged himself a title shot against Jon Jones and the two met at UFC 247 in February last year. Reyes wound up running Jones razor close.

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In the end, the decision didn’t go his way but many felt he won. He got another crack at the gold in his next fight, due to Jones vacating the belt, and got battered by Jan Blachowicz. So he’s gone from being undefeated to losing two on the trot. Tough break. He could really do with a win right about now. But this is a risky one. Jiri Prochazka is a wildman. He’s Czech, 28 years old and a former RIZIN champ with a 27-3-1 record. 26 finishes, 24 knockouts, 23 of his victims didn’t even last a round. He doesn’t fuck about. And he’s got such a weird and unorthodox style which, combined with his power, makes him a right handful to deal with. As Volkan Oezdemir found out the hard way on Fight Island back in July...

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That was Jiri’s UFC debut and what a first impression he made. This is a big opportunity for him in just his second UFC outing. Not many newcomers get the main event spot against a top contender right off the bat like this. Credit to Reyes as well. I’m sure he could’ve taken an easier fight than this to try to rebound from the loss to Big Jan. A third consecutive loss here would be disaster for him. Should be good. A win for Reyes puts him back in the mix. And a win for Prochazka catapults him into that contender convo. Nothing against Reyes but I’m fully rooting for Jiri here. He’s probably the most exciting fresh face the 205 division has had in years along with Johnny Walker but Walker’s fizzled out a bit. I’m hoping Jiri can make some moves.

 

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Cub Swanson vs Giga Chikadze is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** on this card. What a fun fight this should be. Swanson’s been one of the most consistently entertaining fighters to watch, win or lose, on the roster for years now. Such a fan friendly style and he seems a ridiculously nice bloke away from the cage as well. He’s 37 now and he’s been in some battles. You have to assume this is probably a bit of a last run situation for him now. But fights like this are what I want to see. Cub’s not going to be troubling the Featherweight title picture at this stage in the game but matchups like this make me glad he’s still around. He’s doing OK for himself lately as well. He was on a 4 fight losing skid not too long ago but he’s turned it around in his last couple. He beat Kron Gracie in a cracking FOTN in 2019, then at UFC 256 in December...

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He knocked out Daniel Pineda. Pushing 40 but he’s still dangerous and he’s not done yet. This could be Chikadze’s big chance though. His moment to break out against an established and respected name in the division. Up until now Chikadze’s kind of flown under the radar in the UFC but I get the feeling watching him that there’s a couple more gears to him that we haven’t seen him tap into yet. He’s 12-2 and has won his last 7 fights. His first 4 in the UFC went the distance and I think a lot of people probably dismissed him as a point fighter as a result but he wiped out Jamey Simmons with a headkick last time out and anyone who’s looked into Chikadze’s background will know there’s more to him than he’s shown in the UFC so far.

He has a Kickboxing record of 38-6 with 22 knockouts and fought a bunch in GLORY. He was never THE guy in Kickboxing but he’s knocked about and there isn’t much he hasn’t seen or experienced in a fight. I think a fight like this is one which could light a fire under him. It’s definitely a step up and the toughest test of his MMA career to date but these are the fights he’s going to have to shine in if he ever wants to break out of the pack in a loaded division like 145. Great fight and one that’s being criminally overlooked, in my opinion. It’s one of the best least talked about fights on the upcoming schedule of UFC cards for me.

 

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Ion Cutelaba vs Dustin Jacoby. Love this. Should be fireworks however long it lasts. It was supposed to be Cutelaba vs Devin Clark but Clark’s out. This is better style-wise anyway, IMO. Cutelaba’s always seemed a bit of a meathead div to me but he’s great to watch bell to bell. He’s insanely aggressive and wild and that’s been both a blessing and a curse at times. But there’s never a dull moment. Kill or be killed every time. If you don’t deck him he’s probably decking you. He’s coming into this fight off an absolutely brutal knockout loss against Magomed Ankalaev in October though. He got fully switched off. Usually you’d speculate if a fighter would be gun-shy coming off a loss like that but I can’t see it deterring Cutelaba from coming out guns blazing here. He just seems like one of those fighters who’s wired a bit funny. Jacoby is the kind of opponent I see matching up perfectly with him. He’s bounced around with mixed results for years, had an unsuccessful UFC stint years ago, had iffy spells in Bellator and WSOF after that. Fought in Kickboxing for a while as well and did OK for himself in GLORY. He popped into DWCS last summer, picked up a win and that was that. That got him back in the UFC and he’s gone 2-0 since, including dismantling Justin Ledet with leg kicks. He’s on a 4 fight streak now. Could easily see this stealing the show.

 

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Sean Strickland vs Krzysztof Jotko. This could be alright actually. Both were just making up the numbers guys to me for the longest time but Strickland’s stepped it up a bit of late. He might actually be a bit underrated, to be honest. He’s 22-3 now and you look at his losses - Zaleski Dos Santos, Ponzinibbio and USMAN. He stopped Brendan Allen (who I rate) in his last fight, battered Jack Marshman before that in that mad fight where he kept shouting “Why won’t you fall? FALL DOWN JACK!” Mid fight. He also handed Tom Breese his first loss a few years ago. He’s always been decent but it really seems like something’s lit a match under his arse recently. I don’t see him progressing too much further but if nothing else at least he got some people talking about him with his last few performances. Prior to that he may as well have been invisible. And that brings me to Jotko. He’s basically the Polish version of Strickland before the spice got added. A solid fighter but just...bland. He’s 22-4 and also coming off 3 wins but none of it rings a bell. Literally all I recall of him is him doing a spinaroonie after a win a while ago. Hopefully he brings it here and we get something a bit more memorable out of it.

 

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Merab Dvalishvili vs Cody Stamann. This fight has actually been booked twice now, in December and then again in February, but went tits up both times for whatever reason. Can’t say I’m that fussed with this, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong both are solid enough fighters but I just haven’t been blown away watching either fight yet so this one’s not exactly grabbing me by the bollocks. Dvalishvili is 12-4, Georgian but trains out of Team Serra-Longo in New York. Seems a decent guy and he’s actually on a fairly strong 5 fight streak but he’s one of those fighters who goes to decisions all the time and the fights all generally look the same. I couldn’t tell you one thing about any fight he’s been in because they all just mush together in my memory. Stamann’s 19-3-1 and coming off a points loss against Jimmie Rivera in July. Like Merab though, he’s one of those fighters who doesn’t really do anything that sticks in the memory but he’s certainly got skills. Hopefully he gets to fight this time though. He’s had about 4 fights fall through since the loss to Rivera in July. Fucker deserves a bit of luck. Not bothered who wins, I just really hope for a good fight. They could both do with a standout performance.

 

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Randa Markos vs Luana Pinheiro.  Dunno. I like Randa and there was a time when she was coming off TUF all those years ago and she looked like she might be a future player in the Strawweight division. Sounds mental now when you look at her seemingly never ending win one/lose one record but I remember she had that real dark horse thing going for her on that season and the episode where she burst season dickhead Felice Herrig’s bubblegum in the weigh in face-off and then submitted her in the fight was class and solidified me as a fan.

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One of my favourite, and most underrated, ‘twat gets comeuppance’ moments in TUF history for me. Hasn’t panned out since though. She’s gone 6-9-1 since signing with the UFC. She’s 10-10-1 overall now and comes into this fight off 3 losses on the bounce. Surprised she’s not been released already actually. It’s going nowhere. Pinheiro is debuting here. 27 years old and fights out of Nova Uniao. She’s 8-1 with 7 finishes and scored a first round knockout on DWCS in November.

 

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TJ Brown vs Kai Kamaka III. Little bit unfamiliar with these guys. Looking them both up, Brown is 14-8 with 13 finishes. Fought for LFA and on DWCS and did well but he’s 0-2 so far in the UFC. Kamaka’s Hawaiian, 26 years old and 8-3 with only 1 finish. He’s coming off a TKO loss against Jonathan Pearce in November. From my vague memories of both though, it’ll probably be decent to watch.

 

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Poliana Botelho vs Luana Carolina. Not arsed really. At one point I remember thinking Botelho looked like a bit of a prospect but it hasn’t worked out. I liked her aggression in some of her early UFC fights (the body kick she folded Syuri Kondo with stands out) and she’s a Muay Thai striker which is my soft spot. But she’s come up short whenever she’s faced decent-good opposition. Cynthia Calvillo and Gillian Robertson are her last 2 losses. I can’t remember if I saw those fights but given their styles are grappling heavy, I’m guessing they just shut Botelho’s stand up down and grounded her, which is smart. Botelho can be fun to watch with the right opponent though. And maybe Luana Carolina is the right opponent. Fuzzy memory on her but I’m sure she’s more of a striker so these two might actually match up pretty well.

 

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Loma Lookboonmee vs Sam Hughes. I’m into this purely to see Lookboonmee do her thing again. She’s a 9 time Muay Thai world champion and from bits I’ve read she had over 200 Thai fights. She’s still only 25 now but Thai fighters do traditionally start mega young. Lookboonmee turned pro at 8 apparently.

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Badass. In MMA she’s 5-2 so far. She’s already fought Angela Hill and lost but she’s still learning MMA. I don’t see her becoming a really good all rounder but she’s still young enough that I think she could get decent at everything to the point where it works for her to a point. But unless she can develop a prime Cro Cop sprawl all of a sudden, she’s always going to struggle against the more grappling based fighters in the division. Hughes is also 5-2 and has 4 finishes. She stepped in on about a week’s notice for her UFC debut in December and lost to Tecia Torres on points. I remember the reaction to her signing being pretty positive so maybe she’s better than she showed there. We’ll see how she does here with a full camp but I’m pulling for Loma here.

 

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Andreas Michailisdis vs KB Bhullar. Not sure about either. Think I’ve only seen both once and there wasn’t a lot to take from either man’s UFC debut. Michailidis got stopped in a round by Modestas Bukauskas in July. Bhullar got jabbed to the floor and finished by Tom Breese in less than 2 minutes in October. Aside from their dodgy debuts on the big stage, Michailidis is 12-4 with 11 finishes, Bhullar’s 8-1 with 6 finishes. Not much else to go on but I remember Bhullar coming across very well in the pre-fight media for the Breese fight so kind of hoping he can get his first UFC win here.

 

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Felipe Colares vs Luke Sanders. This one’s been cobbled together after both men’s original opponents dropped out. Colares was meant to fight Journey Newson, Sanders was set to face Damon Jackson. Oh well. It’s just filler anyway. Colares is 9-2 and hasn’t fought in well over a year. He took a bit of a hiding from Montel Jackson last time out as I recall. Apart from that I remember sod all of Colares. Similar with Sanders really. My main memory of him is when he choked out Maximo Blanco in his UFC debut back in 2016. He did also finish Renan Barao in 2019 but by that time Barao looked fucked anyway. It’s been a bit of a bumpy road for Sanders. He’s been subbed in 3 of his last 6 fights now.

 

Pretty sweet card actually. A bunch of fights I’m not fussed about on there but there’s a few I really like. And that’s about the best you can ask for from a Fight Night these days. You just have to hope the fights you’re arsed about are the ones that stay intact. 

 

Edited by wandshogun09
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Decent show I thought, despite all the decisions. The last two fights took it from average to very memorable though. Jiri Prochazka is a beast. Not without flaws obviously. And I still can’t help

That's him fucked then 😉

He deserves to be fined for that. After the Jeremy Stephens thing last weekend that was ridiculous. I fancy Jacoby in that fight too. Id imagine Cutelaba coming out like maniac throwing bombs, but Jac

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This is the fight I am looking forward to most this weekend. 

I want Jiri to win because he's so much fun to watch. But I am leaning towards picking Reyes. Jiri is a knockout waiting to happen really. 

Edited by jimufctna24
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Jiri is the bookies favorite which shows how much Reyes stock has fallen since that Jones fight. If this straight after the Jones fight, Reyes would have been a heavy favorite. Its an interesting fight, if Reyes' confidence is shot to bit he may be in for a shitty night, Jiri is a wildman.

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I’m pulling for Jiri as well but it’d be a shame to see Reyes drop a third loss on the trot. 205 needs some spice though and Jiri’s exciting as fuck. Like Jim says though, watching how wild he is you’re always just waiting for him to get walloped. Still want to see Jiri vs Johnny Walker at some point. It’s got to happen. Probably can’t live up to the weird drunken Tekken fight I’m picturing in my head but I must see it.

While I’m here;

He’s gonna get sparked talking shit at some point, isn’t he? 

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8 minutes ago, Egg Shen said:

Jiri is the bookies favorite which shows how much Reyes stock has fallen since that Jones fight. If this straight after the Jones fight, Reyes would have been a heavy favorite. Its an interesting fight, if Reyes' confidence is shot to bit he may be in for a shitty night, Jiri is a wildman.

Reyes, despite his unimpressive record, is a talented fighter for a light heavyweight. He is a much better fighter than Gusty ever was and also the only fighter who clearly beat Jones imo. I think he was all wrong for Jones really. He's a good kicker which as Santos showed Jones struggles with, he's a good counter striker which exploited how uncomfortable Jones is when opponents fire strikes after he throws kicks, and he was also tall/rangy enough to work around Jones's stiff-arm/framing. 

Jiri is a different kettle of fish altogether. He's very hittable as Oezdemir and the rematch with King Mo showed. He was losing both of those fights, but eventually found a way to score the knockout. 

Based on nothing but a hunch, I think Reyes either scores the stoppage or wins a lopsided decision. Hopefully Jiri sparks him though. 

 

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5 minutes ago, jimufctna24 said:

Reyes, despite his unimpressive record, is a talented fighter for a light heavyweight. 

He is. How many 205ers have movement like this? 

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He deserves to be fined for that. After the Jeremy Stephens thing last weekend that was ridiculous. I fancy Jacoby in that fight too. Id imagine Cutelaba coming out like maniac throwing bombs, but Jacoby is a granite tough vet. I reckon he weathers it and puts a bit of a beating on Cutelaba rounds 2 & 3. The underdog is on my acca.

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