Saturday, October 16, 2021

UFC: Has Jon Jones met his match in Dominick Reyes?

This Sunday brings us the second numbered event of the UFC calendar where we will see Jon Jones defend his Light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes. In the mind of most MMA fans this is the most credible threat to Jones title reign, but does that mean Reyes is a legitimate threat?

Looking at Reyes resume you might think that this is the guy that is going to match Jones, undefeated in 12 fights and generally winning in impressive fashion aside from the split decision win over Volkan Oezdemir who many including myself believe he lost.

The Oezdemir fight for me is where the first problem lies, Reyes in the first round has a very good output but he tends to fade very quickly in the second round. His nose got damaged in the first round that probably caused breathing difficulties causing his output to fade. That fight was not the first time we have seen Reyes drop off though.

Dominick Reyes - the man to face Jon Jones
Reyes really seemed to have problems in his fight against Oezdemir

In his fight against OSP his output in the first round was very high but there was a steep drop off in the second, and the third until the dying seconds of the final round where really he did knock out OSP it was a confusing call by the ref which caused the fight to go to the score cards.

Reyes is a very impressive fighter, his striking is varied and he hits combinations very well using his height and footwork to just elude fighters. In the third round against OSP despite the fact he was tired the encouraging thing to note was that he was still able to follow the instructions from his corner.

Reyes was able to counter the takedowns from OSP by simply side stepping and turning the corner at the right time which is a great way of defending takedowns while conserving energy.

One of Reyes main weapons is that stepping back left cross that really is a thing of beauty when it lands correctly. It was that punch that dropped Weidman in round 1 and dropped OSP in round 3 of their respective fights.

He uses a variety of kicks to the body and head from his rear left leg that are very powerful, and again it is the combinations such as the one he used against Cannonier, which led to the uppercut KO that could maybe cause problems for Jones.

Reyes did not take long to despatch of Weidman – see the full fight here

That’s the problem here it is still just a maybe, Jones is the best fighter on the planet right now, all controversy aside the man has not been beaten.

He has one loss that was the DQ to Matt Hamill that I believe the UFC are campaigning to have ruled as a no contest. A lot of people have complained about Jones performances as of late however he still won those fights, with relative ease.

I do see a lot of people making the comparison between Reyes and Gustafsson, that Jones had trouble in the first fight against Gustafsson due to the height and length.

Yes Reyes does have similar size and length to Gustafsson, there is just one problem with that comparison if you are making the argument for Reyes beating Jones, which is that Gustafsson never beat Jon Jones, and in my opinion neither will Reyes.

Reyes has a habit in the second and third round of reaching for shots that aren’t there, he did not get punished for those against his previous opponents, Jones is the best in the world and the best light heavyweight in the history of the sport. If Reyes makes those little errors against Jon he will get punished.

In this fight I do believe that we will see the best Jon Jones that we have seen in a while, he tends to fight to the level of his opponents and Reyes is a very good opponent and will likely force Jones to be better.

Every Champion must fall eventually, it is possible that Reyes is the man to do it, he certainly has the power in the left cross, but I do feel that Jones has fought better and come out with the belt still around his waist, I do not think that this weekend will be an exception.

For more from The Sports Despatch on Jones v Reyes check out my colleagues article here and check out our Twitter.

Alex Green
Long suffering New York Jets fan, avid MMA viewer, been watching it since people still thought Ken Shamrock was quite good.

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