Originally published at UFC FIGHT NIGHT: Jiří Procházka knocks out Dominick Reyes
UFC Fight Night Report: Jiří Procházka knocks out Dominick Reyes
By: Eric Marcotte
On Saturday night, the UFC returned to the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada for a Fight Night card. The event was headlined by a fight in the light heavyweight division between former title challenger Dominick Reyes, and Jiří Procházka, who knocked out Volkan Oezdemir in his UFC debut last July. Going into 2020, Reyes was an undefeated fighter, challenging Jon Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. It was a close fight, a fight that many thought Reyes won, but Jones got his hand raised in the end and vacated the title not long thereafter. Reyes fought Jan Błachowicz for the vacated title later that year but was ultimately stopped in the second round. Now, following consecutive losses, Reyes looked to climb back to contendership-status with a win here. For Procházka, this marked a huge opportunity to catapult himself into a title fight in just his second UFC bout. He made an excellent first impression against Volkan Oezdemir, and a win against Dominick Reyes would establish him as a top fighter at 205lbs. In the co-main event, Giga Chikadze looked to continue his ascent up the featherweight rankings against a veteran of the division, Cub Swanson.
Brendan Fitzgerald provided commentary for this card alongside Paul Felder and Michael Bisping. Performance of the Night bonuses went out to Jiří Procházka and Giga Chikadze. Fight of the Night honours were awarded to Dominick Reyes and Jiří Procházka.
*Felipe Colares def. Luke Sanders by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Andreas Michailidis def. K.B. Bhullar by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Loma Lookboonmee def. Sam Hughes by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Luana Carolina def. Poliana Botelho by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*T.J. Brown def. Kai Kamaka III by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30)
*Luana Pinheiro def. Randa Markos by Disqualification at 4:16 of Round 1
*Merab Dvalishvili def. Cody Stamann by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Sean Strickland def. Krzysztof Jotko by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby resulted in a Split Draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)
*Giga Chikadze def. Cub Swanson by TKO at 1:03 of Round 1
*Jiří Procházka def. Dominick Reyes by KO at 4:29 of Round 2
LUKE SANDERS (13-4, 145.5) VS FELIPE COLARES (9-1, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Colares began the fight with a body kick, and Sanders closed the distance with a heavy combination in response. A minute into the round, Sanders dropped Colares with a powerful left hand, and while Colares quickly picked himself up, Sanders gave him no room to recover. He landed a number of hard elbows, as well as a knee up the middle. At the halfway point of the round, Colares created some separation, but Sanders continued to pick Colares apart on the feet with heavy hooks. Towards the end of the round, Colares started returning fire, and he finally got Sanders to back up. Colares landed a right hand that had Sanders stumbling backward before the end of the round. 10-9 Sanders.
Sanders continued to fight aggressively, but Colares held his ground much better than he did early in the first. Sanders took Colares down, but Colares quickly escaped, and they separated. They were trading hands in some wild exchanges, and it seemed as though Sanders was tiring, but he was still landing the more impactful blows. Colares began to search for a takedown of his own, and he picked Sanders up, carried him across the cage, and slammed him down in front of his corner. Colares transitioned to Sanders back and began to search for the rear-naked choke. Colares flattened him out and began to rain down blows, and this fight was very close to being stopped. Sanders ultimately survived until the end of the round, but he took a lot of damage in the final minute of this fight. 19-19.
Sanders defended Colares’s first takedown attempt of the round. They traded evenly on the feet, and both men were exhausted. Colares landed a spinning backfist, which was probably the most impactful shot of the round. Sanders went for a takedown that Colares reversed, and Colares briefly took Sanders back. Sanders made it back to his feet before the end of the round, and the fight went the distance. 29-28 Colares.
WINNER: Felipe Colares by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was a really fun fight to start the night, a fight in which both men were close to being finished at points, but it ultimately went the distance. There are referees who probably would have stopped the fight before the end of the second round, but to Sanders’ credit, he hung on for the remainder of the fight despite being beyond exhausted. Colares is now 2-2 in the UFC.
ANDREAS MICHAILIDIS (12-4, 185.5) VS K.B. BHULLAR (8-1, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Michailidis landed a number of leg kicks in the opening minute. Michailidis began to swarm forward with wild, heavy punches, and Bhullar wasn’t offering anything in response to back Michailidis off. He landed a head kick, took Bhullar down, and quickly took his back. Michailidis didn’t get the finish, but this round was all him. 10-9 Michailidis.
Michailidis continued to be the aggressor but was slowed momentarily by a kick from Bhullar that landed low. When the fight resumed, Michailidis continued to press forward and he landed some hard kicks to the body. Bhullar was a bit busier late in the round, but it just wasn’t enough to win the round or punish Michailidis for advancing. 20-18 Michailidis.
According to the UFC’s statistics, Bhullar had landed a total of six strikes to the head of Michailidis by the midway point of the final round. The story of the fight continued to be Bhullar’s lack of aggression. Late in the round, Bhullar landed his second-most impactful shot of the fight, which just so happened to be his second low blow of the fight. The fight went the distance. 30-27 Michailidis.
WINNER: Andreas Michailidis by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Even the UFC didn’t shy away from broadcasting tweets regarding how forgettable this fight was. Bhullar just didn’t show any aggression, and Michailidis cruised to an easy decision here. Michailidis is now 1-1 in the UFC.
LOMA LOOKBOONMEE (5-2, 115.5) VS SAM HUGHES (5-2, 116) – STRAWWEIGHT
Lookboonmee landed the better strikes in the opening minute and took Hughes down from the clinch. She began to work from side control but returned to her feet. Hughes searched for a body lock, but once again it was Lookboonmee who was successful in bringing the fight to the ground. Lookboonmee stood back up, and they exchanged heavy kicks. Lookboonmee ended the round with one last takedown. 10-9 Lookboonmee.
Hughes engaged Lookboonmee in the clinch to begin the second round. Once again, it was Lookboonmee who brought the fight down, but she gave up top position going for an ill-advised guillotine. Lookboonmee picked herself up against the cage, and they separated. The commentary team pointed out that Hughes was arguably beating Lookboonmee on the feet, but she was continuously falling behind when she pursued takedowns. Lookboonmee flurried forward and ended the round strong with a takedown. 20-18 Lookboonmee.
Hughes defended Lookboonmee’s first takedown attempt of the final round. Hughes did a good job throughout the round of keeping Lookboonmee’s back to the fence, and during the moments in which they were separated, Hughes landed a few solid right hands. I thought this was a clear round for Hughes. 29-28 Lookboonmee.
WINNER: Loma Lookboonmee by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
While she hasn’t been racking up highlight finishes and has certainly been in a number of close fights, Lookboonmee has largely impressed thus far into her UFC run. She is 3-1 in the promotion now, and I wouldn’t be shocked if she finds herself across the cage from another ranked opponent soon.
POLIANA BOTELHO (8-3, 125.5) VS LUANA CAROLINA (6-2, 128.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Carolina missed weight by 2.5lbs and was fined 20% of her purse.
Botelho largely attacked the body in the opening minutes of the fight. She began to tee off on Carolina near the cage, and Botelho was successful in bringing the fight to the ground moments later. She transitioned to full mount late in the round, but could not get a finish before time expired. 10-9 Botelho.
Botelho wasted no time in pursuing another takedown, but Carolina defended the attempt and secured a takedown of her own. Botelho returned to her feet, and they continued to wrestle in the clinch against the cage. They spent the vast majority of the round in this position. Carolina was cut open above her right eye, but it was tough to tell what cut her open. Close round, but I gave it to Carolina.
Neither fighter was really pulling ahead on the feet early in the third, but as Botelho attempted to bring the fight to the ground, Carolina reversed the position to assume top control. She took Botelho’s back late in the round, and while she was unable to do much with it, it was more than enough for me to give her the round. 29-28 Carolina.
WINNER: Luana Carolina by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Botelho started the fight off strong but wasn’t able to maintain that momentum for the rest of the fight. I thought Carolina took the final two rounds with her brief moments of control on the ground, and two of the judges agreed. Not a great fight, but an important win for Carolina after missing weight. Carolina is now 2-1 in the UFC.
KAI KAMAKA III (8-3, 146) VS T.J. BROWN (14-8, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Both Kamaka and Brown found early success with their jabs and low kicks. I thought Brown in particular was looking slick in the opening minutes, timing his counters well. Kamaka pushed Brown to the ground, but Brown picked himself up quickly. Bisping, Felder, and Fitzgerald briefly acknowledged Felder’s strange encounter with Diego Sanchez and his coach Joshua Fabia that made headlines earlier in the week, prior to Sanchez’s release. Brown landed a counter uppercut to end the round. 10-9 Brown on my scorecard, but a very close round.
Kamaka landed a powerful head kick towards the start of the next round that brown just ate. Brown landed a right hand that in response that hurt Kamaka, and Brown began to swarm him. Brown stumbled in his pursuit and backed off momentarily. Kamaka dropped Brown badly with a right hand and followed him to the ground. Brown went for a kimura off of his back, but he couldn’t lock it in, and they returned to the feet. They exchanged for about a minute before Brown shot for a takedown and ended things on top. 19-19 for me.
Brown attempted to bring things back to the ground in the third, but Kamaka reversed the attempt to end up on top. Kamaka did an excellent job of controlling the action on the ground, and Brown couldn’t make his way back to his feet for an extended period of time. With a minute remaining, Brown escaped, and he knew he was down, so he started swinging for the finish. While Kamaka threw a kick, Brown sat him down, and while Kamaka quickly worked his way back on top, Brown threatened another kimura before the round ended. This was another very close round to end what was a very close fight, but I ultimately scored it 29-28 for Kamaka.
WINNER: T.J. Brown by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30)
I didn’t agree with the decision, but each round was so close that I would hardly call the result a robbery. This was arguably the best fight on the card so far, and both men showcased the full range of their abilities throughout these fifteen minutes. This was Brown’s first win in the UFC after dropping his first two fights in the promotion.
RANDA MARKOS (10-10-1, 115) VS LUANA PINHEIRO (8-1, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
Pinheiro took Markos down following a clinch exchange, but Markos made it back to her feet quickly. Pinheiro took Markos back down with a judo throw, but let her back up. Heavy leg kick from Pinheiro. The fight was paused following an eye poke to Markos. When the fight resumed, they immediately began trading wild hooks, and Pinheiro dumped Markos to the ground yet again to slow the pace of the fight down. Pinheiro ate an illegal up kick and was deemed unable to continue.
WINNER: Luana Pinheiro by Disqualification at 4:16 of Round 1
The fight was wild while it lasted, but unfortunately, the ending was quite anti-climactic. Pinheiro dominated the majority of the round, and was able to take Markos down seemingly at will, so regardless of the finish, this was an impressive performance from Pinheiro (minus the eye poke). This fight marked her UFC debut.
MERAB DVALISHVILI (12-4, 135.5) VS CODY STAMANN (19-3-1, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Dvalishvili landed a powerful uppercut as Stamann changed levels, and racked up his first takedown of the fight not long after. Stamann picked himself up against the cage, and Dvalishvili landed a right hand on the break. Dvalishvili defended a takedown attempt from Stamann and was consistently threatening the uppercut when Stamann shot. Stamann caught Dvalishvili with a solid jab. Dvalishvili began to land a number of clean right hands late in the round. 10-9 Dvalishvili.
Stamann began the second round with a takedown of his own. Dvalishvili worked his way up but ate a shot from Stamann on the break. Dvalishvili evened the score in the round with a takedown of his own. Stamann escaped and they returned to the feet. Dvalishvili almost locked in a guillotine at one point, but Stamann popped out of it. Dvalishvili was getting the better of their exchanges on the feet, and when Stamann pressed forward, Dvalishvili took him back down. 20-18 Dvalishvili.
As one would expect, Dvalishvili’s pace had not dropped at all by the final round. Stamann almost caught Dvalishvili with a flying knee at one point, but Dvalishvili narrowly avoided it. Dvalishvili continued to have the edge on the feet and just seemed to be the quicker fighter. Stamann reversed a takedown from Dvalishvili to assume top control with ninety seconds remaining in the round. Stamann controlled the remainder of the round, but couldn’t get the finish. 30-27 Dvalishvili.
WINNER: Merab Dvalishvili by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Merab Dvalishvili has looked better almost every time he’s stepped foot in the octagon, and this fight was no exception. This was perhaps the best his striking has looked thus far, and out grappled a very high-level wrestler in Cody Stamann. Dvalishvili has now won his last six fights, and I think it’s time for a top ten opponent. Personally, I’d love to see Dvalishvili against Pedro Munhoz, but Dvalishvili named former UFC and WEC Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz, in his post-fight interview.
SEAN STRICKLAND (22-3, 185.5) VS KRZYSZTOF JOTKO (22-4, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Strickland marched forward looking to land his right hand, while Jotko was content to move back and counter. Strickland wobbled Jotko with one of those right hands, and Jotko looked as though he was in trouble, but he got Strickland to back off by swinging wildly with his back to the fence. Strickland outlanded Jotko for the remainder of the round. 10-9 Strickland.
Jotko connected with a big left hand, perhaps his best shot of the fight thus far. This was a very close, technical round four minutes in, and neither man had really pulled ahead. Strickland had thrown a large number of leg kicks throughout the fight, and Jotko was starting to react to them late. I thought Strickland turned it up just enough in the final minute to steal a close round. 20-18 Strickland.
The final round mirrored the last two. It was a close, evenly paced round, where neither man was overwhelming the other with their activity. It was Strickland however, who was landing the cleaner shots, and he never stopped moving forward, which always looks good to the judges. I scored the fight 30-27 for Strickland.
WINNER: Sean Strickland by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sean Strickland fought his fight for fifteen minutes, and while Jotko had moments of success, I thought this was, by and large, a pretty dominant performance from Strickland. Since Strickland’s motorcycle injury in 2018 (and his move to middleweight upon return), he has gone 3-0, with three excellent performances. He’s starting to generate some conversation surrounding himself, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him face one of the two men ranked in front of him, Kevin Holland or Brad Tavares, next.
ION CUTELABA (15-6, 1 NC, 206) VS DUSTIN JACOBY (14-5, 205) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Jacoby began the fight with a pair of heavy kicks to the leg. Cutelaba backed Jacoby up with a hard jab and proceeded to take him down near the cage. Cutelaba landed some solid right hands as Jacoby picked himself up against the cage, and repeatedly dragged Jacoby back down. He began to rain down some elbows later in the round, but Jacoby continued to survive. Jacoby received upwards of a thousand stern warnings for grabbing the cage. 10-8 Cutelaba.
Cutelaba quickly brought the fight right back to the ground. To Jacoby’s credit, he got right back up this time and defended Cutelaba’s next attempt. You could feel the momentum of the fight slowly starting to shift, as Cutelaba is tired, and Jacoby became more confident in mounting offense of his own. Still, both men were landing powerful shots, and this was a very tough round to score. 19-18 Cutelaba.
Jacoby continued to press forward in the third round. Cutelaba was landing some strong counter rights while largely moving backward, and Jacoby wasn’t walking him down with as much ease as he did late in the second round. He went for a flying knee at one point, and Cutelaba wrapped him up against the cage. Jacoby reversed the position and went for a takedown of his own, bringing Cutelaba to the ground right before time expired. 28-28.
Result: Split Draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)
I was surprised that only one judge saw the opening round as a 10-8. Regardless, I agreed with the overall result, and this was an entertaining fight. Both fighters were throwing heavy hands, but to their credit, neither man went down at any point. Cutelaba is now 1-3-1 throughout his last five fights, and Jacoby is now 2-0-1 in the UFC.
GIGA CHIKADZE (12-2, 146) VS CUB SWANSON (27-11, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
A minute into the fight, Chikadze landed a brutal kick to the body, and Swanson went down immediately. Chikadze landed a few follow-up shots, but Swanson was done, and the fight was stopped quickly.
WINNER: Giga Chikadze by TKO at 1:03 of Round 1
The liver kick that ended the fight was beautiful, and Chikadze established himself as a legitimate top fifteen featherweights in the world with this win. Chikadze has looked good since his debut, but he’s picked up first-round finishes in both of his last fights, and that’s exactly what he needed to quicken his ascent at featherweight. He called out Calvin Kattar and Max Holloway in his post-fight interview, and while there isn’t a fraction of a chance he gets Holloway next, Kattar isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Chikadze is now 6-0 in the UFC.
DOMINICK REYES (12-2, 205.5) VS JIRI PROCHAZKA (27-3-1, 204) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Reyes began the fight with a series of hard kicks to the legs and body. Procházka started to open up with strong counters, and he backed Reyes up with a left hand. Reyes responded with a takedown and began to work from half guard. Procházka escaped quickly, and hurt Reyes badly with a right hand. He began to walk Reyes down in pursuit of the finish, but Reyes was able to fire back and withstand Procházka’s flurry. They exchanged hard right hands against the cage, and Reyes was busted open. Reyes landed a counter left hand, and Procházka ended the round with one last flurry.
Reyes began to step on the gas in the second, and Procházka responded in kind. Both of these fighters were landing hands shots, and it was remarkable that neither man had gone down by the midway point of this second round. Reyes rocked Procházka badly with a left hand, and Procházka shot for a takedown in response. Reyes threatened a guillotine, but Procházka popped out and found himself in half guard. They returned to the feet, and Procházka immediately went back on the attack. Procházka missed on a right elbow, and as Reyes went to counter, Procházka landed a spinning left elbow that knocked Reyes out cold.
WINNER: Jiří Procházka def. Dominick Reyes by KO at 4:29 of Round 2
This was an incredible fight and an incredible knockout for Jiří Procházka. Reyes took a beating throughout the fight, but never stopped firing back, and was close to a finish himself in the second round after landing a left hand that rocked Procházka (as well as a clean-up kick during their brief time on the ground). Still, despite an admirable performance from Reyes, this is certainly a tough loss as he is now on a three-fight losing streak after going into 2020 as an undefeated fighter. For Procházka however, this was a star-making performance. He has had two fights thus far into his UFC run, and both fights have been beyond entertaining and resulting in brutal knockouts. He will likely challenge the winner of Jan Błachowicz/Glover Teixeira for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, and he has definitely established himself as a must-watch fighter in the UFC.