UFC Vegas 25: Jiri Prochazka eyes title shot after sparking Dominick Reyes

Fast-rising Czech says he is 'ready' to face winner of light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira

Jiri Prochazka, left, of the Czech Republic punches Dominick Reyes during their light heavyweight bout at UFC APEX. Zuffa LLC
Jiri Prochazka, left, of the Czech Republic punches Dominick Reyes during their light heavyweight bout at UFC APEX. Zuffa LLC

Fast-rising Jiri Prochazka cemented his position as one of the most exciting athletes in the UFC with a devastating knockout of top-ranked light-heavyweight contender Dominick Reyes on Sunday morning.

The powerful Czech, who starred on his long-awaited promotional debut in Abu Dhabi last summer, put on another stunning display in the headline bout at UFC Vegas 25 at the organisation's Apex in Las Vegas.

After a thrilling opening round full of heavy exchanges, Prochazka landed the decisive blow with 31 seconds remaining in the second, connecting with a thudding spinning back elbow to leave Reyes out cold on the canvas. It was only the third spinning elbow knockout in UFC history. Reyes, a former two-time title challenger who last fought too in Abu Dhabi, lay prone for several minutes before finally sitting up.

The victory earned Prochazka bonuses for both Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night, and lifted him to 2-0 in the UFC (28-3-1 MMA). Renown for his unorthodox but eye-catching stand-up, Prochazka is slated for a title shot next, against the winner of Polish champion Jan Blachowicz and Brazil's Glover Teixeira. That bout is expected to take place in September.

“Yeah, I’m ready. Let’s do that,” Prochazka said about a potential title fight. “I like my neighbour, Blachowicz. Now it’s the fight Glover Teixeira versus Blachowicz, yeah? So winner will be my next opponent? OK, that’s an honour for me. That’s a big honour for me."

Prochazka added of his latest triumph: “It was a very nice fight. I just want to show the beauty of the art, but sometimes I go very quickly for the win. By that, I catch some punches. I’m learning still from fight to fight.

“I just flow. After some counter punches from Dominick, I can have no chance to think of some plans. I just was in the flow. After that, the spinning elbow, let’s try it.”

Reacting on social media to the win, Blachowicz teased a possible match-up with Prochazka should he see off the challenge of Teixeira. Prochazka, 28, excelled also on his UFC bow, knocking out Volkan Oezdemir in the second round of their clash at UFC 251 in Abi Dhabi last July – the opening event of the inaugural Fight Island. The win earned a Performance of the Night bonus.

Updated: May 2, 2021 10:37 AM

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