UFC 253 Co-Main Event Title Fight: Dominick Reyes vs. Jan Błachowicz Odds, Preview, and Prediction
With Jon Jones vacating the Light Heavyweight Championship belt, the title is up for grabs for Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253 on Fight Island.
Light Heavyweight Matchup (205): Dominick Reyes (12-1-0) vs. Jan Błachowicz (26-8-0)
Some could argue that this is the first title defense for Reyes. His last fight was against Jon Jones for the championship and many believe he won a close decision. Yet, he ended up losing to Jones in February 2020 by unanimous decision. Regardless of the official result, Reyes looked very impressive against the pound for pound GOAT (based on performance inside the octagon). If there was one downfall in Reyes' game for that fight, it was his lack of experience and cardio issues as Jones took over the fight in the later rounds. At 30 years old, he's relatively young in his career with only 13 career fights. Before his title fight he was undefeated and had big wins over Volkan Oezdemir and Chris Weidman. The Weidman fight was a quick KO (no surprise there) and the Oezdemir fight was a split decision where he showed cardio issues as well. But, Reyes has shown improvements in every fight as he is young and hungry, so I expect the best Reyes to show up Saturday. What makes him special is his athleticism and crisp boxing. 'The Devastator' has a huge straight left hand and a 58% KO/TKO rate in his victories, which totals 7 KO/TKO wins.
I expect him to be the quicker fighter against Błachowicz and il be interested to see if Błachowicz will try to test Reyes' 82% takedown defense because we haven't really seen him on the ground all too often. That may be Błachowicz's path to victory after you watch the finishes from 'The Devastator' below.
However, Błachowicz may have something to say about who is the real KO artist in this fight. Błachowicz is criminally underrated and has been on a tear of late with 3 straight wins. 2 of those 3 wins came by KO/TKO via 'Polish Power' over Corey 'The KO Machine' Anderson and Luke 'Iron Chin' Rockhold. His other victory during this stretch is against Jacaré Souza where he won by a close split decision. Błachowicz has shown great hand speed and looks to land power hooks against his opponents. However, despite his recent stretch of KO/TKO's, he actually has more submissions than KO/TKO's in his career. He has 9 submission wins and only has a 27% KO/TKO rate in his victories. This totals only 7 KO/TKO finishes in 26 career wins. If Błachowicz can get this fight to the mat, he will most likely have a major advantage in the BJJ as Reyes is unproven on the ground (maybe he's good who knows). Despite being 2 inches shorter at 6'2, Błachowicz will have a 2 inch reach advantage in this fight, but I don't think this will play a major factor. At 37 years old, father time has been generous to Błachowicz as he seems to get better with age. He has played the underdog role in the majority of his fights and he will attempt to prove people wrong once again in what will be his last UFC title shot.
I see this fight going to a decision and I have a feeling youth will prevail. Look for Reyes to stick and move for 5 rounds and avoid the power hooks of Błachowicz. Also, I expect him to be quicker than Błachowicz and beat him to the punch in their exchanges. Reyes is a pretty heavy favourite in this fight, so unless you want to put money on a fight prop (which is always risky), you can use him as a parlay piece. Also, considering that Reyes has never been finished in his career and Błachowicz has only been finished 3 times, the Reyes by decision fight prop would be my risky play.
Prediction: Reyes (-270)
Bulldogs Risky Pick: Reyes by Decision (+225)