D. Reyes (+115) Vs J. Prochazka $$
Prochazka likely hits as hard as anyone in the history of this division. He currently holds a 9 fight KO streak and looks very impressive. But let’s face it, most of those guys he knocked out were bums. This is only his second fight in the UFC and Reyes is a significant upgrade in talent to his former opponents. Despite this, he come into this fight as favourite which to me seems premature.
Reyes lost a controversial decision to legend Jon Jones. Then looked less than impressive getting knocked out by Blachowicz in the vacant title fight. Sometimes a little adversity is the best medicine for a fighter to motivate them to be better. But he is definitely going to need a strategy to avoid the power of Prochazka. Standing and trading shots with this guy is a recipe for disaster. I’d love to see him clinch up with his opponent and even go to ground. I was unable to find any footage of Jiri fighting on his back, and he certainly does not know how it feels to go a full 25 minutes against tough competition. Hopefully Dominic comes into this one with a better game plan and in better conditioning so he can push the pace more against the big man and get deeper into the rounds. If he does this, he should find success.
G Chikadze (-160) Vs C Swanson $$
This seems like a classic gatekeeper match to me. Cub is a hardened veteran of this division and has been pounding out fights for as long as I have been watching this sport. He always has entertaining fights and is fun to watch. At this point in his career has question how long he can keep this up. He has absorbed an enormous amount of damage over his career and you have to question is he still has the speed at age 37 to compete with someone younger and faster.
Giga is looking to break into the top 10 here and needs to get past Swanson to do so. He holds significant reach and height advantages in this fight. I suspect he will keep Cub at a distance and outpoint his opponent most of the fight. If Swanson does get inside, he is at risk of eating a knee to the jaw. Jose Aldo was the only man to ever KO Swanson, so I see an unanimous decision for Chikadze.
D. Jacoby (+115) Vs I. Cutelaba $
Ion Cutelaba is a complete hot head as testimony by his preflight stare downs. Emotionally this guys seems out of control and possibly the dirtiest fighter in the division. He throws illegal kicks and low blows. He fakes injuries which already cost him a bad stoppage. He has little cardio and usually gases out by the second round. Glover Teixeira made him look like a complete white belt on the ground. He also got knocked out badly in his last fight. Having said all that, he does possess pretty good power, quickness and could knock out anyone on a good day. But I see just too many potential holes in his game to actually put money on him.
Dustin Jacoby is a decent technical fighter and boxer. His best chance of winning is to just frustrate Ion and be elusive while he gets frustrated and tires himself out. Jabs and leg kicks should be his weapons of choice. If he mixes in a little clinch work and even a take down or two, his chances will increase also, although I’m not sure he will. If he just remains calm and avoids big exchanges, the fight should come to him. Dustin should be a small favourite in this fight so I’ll be backing him as the underdog.
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