Jiri Prochazka put up some big numbers in his UFC debut, can he top them against Dominick Reyes?
Jiri Prochazka entered the UFC in July 2020. In his first fight with the promotion, the UFC booked the former Rizin light heavyweight champ against ex-UFC title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. Prochazka, who hadn’t gone the distance since 2016, kept that run alive with a second-round knockout win.
The stoppage earned Prochazka a “Performance of the Night” bonus and a spot in the 205-pound rankings. On Saturday, the No. 5 ranked Prochazka takes on the No 3. ranked Dominick Reyes in the main event of UFC Vegas 25.
Reyes started his MMA career on a 12-0 run. His 2019 knockout victory over former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman earned him a shot against then-light heavyweight champ Jon Jones. The fight went the distance, and it was an incredibly close matchup, but the champion retained his title by scores of 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46. Reyes next fight was opposite Jan Blachowicz. That scrap was for the vacant 205-pound title. It was not close. Blachowicz won that bout by TKO in the second stanza, Reyes has not fought since that September setback.
Prochazka was relaxed, awkward and aggressive during the matchup. UFC commentator Michael Bisping seemed to nail Prochazka style when he said, “Trying to, I don’t know what he’s trying to do, but I like it.”
The former Rizin champ, kept his hands low, moved around the cage, got rocked, seemed to taunt Oezdemir, and when he had the chance, he threw his shots from weird angles and with maximum power.
When the fight came to a close, Prochazka had landed 5.67 significant strikes per minute. If Prochazka can maintain that pace throughout his UFC career, he will have the highest strikes landed per minute rate in UFC light heavyweight history. Sean O’Connell holds that record at 5.46 per minute. The downside of Prochazka’s lax defense saw him absorb a whopping 7.05 significant strikes per minute.
Below, take a look at how Prochazka and Reyes match up in important stats ahead of Saturday’s fight card.
UFC Vegas 25 takes place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The event streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN+ and ESPN2.