Fight Study (5/1/21)
The UFC’s light heavyweight division will be featured in Satuday’s Main Event from Las Vegas when the division’s 5th ranked contender, Jiri Prochazka, faces the 3rd ranked contender, Dominick Reyes. This fight is closely handicapped with Prochazka being the slight favorite. He is also the more expensive fighter in DFS contests. He can be rostered on DraftKings for $8,300 on DraftKings and $19 on Fanduel. Reyes will be available for $7,900 and $18 respectively. This fight has been scheduled for five rounds, but current odds point toward an earlier conclusion as a -355 favorite to finish before reaching a decision.
Prochazka made his UFC debut in July of last year when he finished Volkan Oezdemir by second round KO. That vaulted him into the rankings and puts him on a fast track to title contention. As a professional he has a record of 27-3 with 24 wins by KO/TKO, 2 wins by submission and 1 win by decision. Any questions regarding his strength of competition were discarded when he defeated Oezdemir (a top ranked contender at the time) as a +144 underdog. During his current win streak, Prochazka has 10 finishes (all by KO/TKO) including 8 in the first round.
Reyes is coming off of back to back failed title fights and has only lost to former champ, Jon Jones, and current champ, Jan Blachowicz, in his career. He has a career record of 12-2 with 7 wins by KO/TKO, 2 wins by submission and 3 wins by decision. He narrowly lost to Jones in February of last year in a fight many believed he won. Seven months later, he was given another title shot, but was outdone by the counter striking of Blachowicz. Now he faces Prochazka who presents another massive challenge for him.
This fight looks to be a quick paced fight as neither fighter will back down. Prochazka has a wealth of experience, but Reyes has had much more experience against elite MMA fighters. I have reviewed the last fight of both fighters several times and the only prediction I can make with certainty is that this will be a brawl. Reyes will give up 3 inches in reach and this may be a significant factor in this matchup. Prochazka’s power is considerable and Reyes must risk great peril to step inside his opponent’s reach. The longer this fight lasts, however, the more Reyes’ will have the edge as Prochazka rarely sees the 3rd round and has never fought before in the championship rounds.
Neither fighter can be counted out in this fight and that is why the oddsmakers and the DFS salary makers are in agreement. This fight could go either way and DFS players will be wise to play both sides of this one in multi-entry contests. I do believe that Prochazka’s power will translate well inside the octagon and I believe he is a legitimate threat to any fighter in front of him. For this reason, I am leaning toward Prochazka as I believe his scoring potential may be a bit higher. However, with 5 rounds to work with, Reyes can score with or without a KO/TKO. Forced to make a choice, Prochazka gets the nod, but playing one side or the other is a must and heavy exposure (especially on DraftKings where both are priced near the average) of this fight would be wise.