Dominick Reyes sung on his way into the ring Friday night in Boston and danced his way out of it. In between, he scored the biggest win of his career — a first-round knockout over former middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
The end came at just 1:43 of the first period after Reyes connected with a counter straight left punch to the jaw of Weidman and then followed up with hammer strikes to the head on the ground.
“I was out there having fun, feeling loose. He came in, and I put him down,” Reyes said, afterward.
“It was everything I ever imagined it to be. I’m so honored to fight Chris, he’s a fantastic competitor.”
Weidman changed levels and closed the distance between he and the larger, longer Reyes early in the fight after “The Devastator” missed with a long punch. From there, Weidman pressed Reyes against the cage wall and scored a takedown.
Reyes stayed calm and skillfully made his way back up to the feet as Weidman clung to him, working for more takedowns. Reyes ultimately freed himself from the collegiate All-American freestyle wrestler’s grasp and got the fight to where he wanted it waged.
Weidman confidently looked to punch his way back into close range, but after he missed with a right punch aimed at a retreating Reyes, the former middleweight king dropped his right arm as it returned to his body and the undefeated contender stopped on a dime and hit the gap with his left fist. Weidman dropped to the mat immediately, but initially regained his consciousness.
Reyes squared up on the felled legend, moved Weidman’s feet off of his own hips and fired down hammer fist punches that knocked the Long Islander out, cold. “Early in the fight I seen it, I seen the opening,” Reyes recounted, after.
“I knew he was going to lunge in, and I cracked him in the jaw.”
Weidman himself was once undefeated for years until losing the 185lbs championship to Luke Rockhold in December of 2015. Since then, he’s lost five out of his last six fights, all by either knockout or technical knockout.
Weidman’s record now stands at 14-5. Reyes came into Friday’s main event having already won his first five fights in the UFC and improved his overall pro record to 12-0 with the stoppage victory.
After beating former title-challengers, top contenders, and now a former world champ, Reyes clearly believes he’s earned his own shot at gold. Before floating out of the cage in the Boston Garden the 29-year-old called out light heavyweight title-holder Jon Jones (25-1-1), who has won his last three-straight, and who is fresh off his latest criminal conviction after allegedly assaulting a strip club waitress.
“Hey Jon, I don’t want any party favors, man,” Reyes taunted, before calling out Jones.
“I want that belt baby, let’s go.”
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