UFC’s light heavyweight division has a big matchup on Saturday night, as two-time title challenger Dominick Reyes faces former RIZIN champion Jiri Prochazka in a five-round fight. The bout is the main event of a UFC “Fight Night” card that is set to happen at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN 2 / TSN 5)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (ESPN 2 / TSN 5)
Bout 11: Dominick Reyes (12-2) vs. Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) (Light Heavyweight)
Prochazka Scores Spinning Elbow Knockout Against Two-Time Title Challenger Reyes
Jiri Prochazka’s back-and-forth main event fight against Dominick Reyes came to an end late in the second round, as he connected with a spinning back elbow for a knockout victory. The win wrapped up a fight that saw both light heavyweight contenders land a high volume of strikes and get visibly rocked at points.
Prochazka’s spinning back elbow finish came quickly during a combination late in the second round. The fighters were exchanging with blows against the cage shortly after getting up from grappling on the ground.
The win sets Prochazka up as one of the biggest names in the light heavyweight division just two fights into his UFC career. After the fight, Prochazka accepted the idea that he may soon be a challenger for UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz.
“I like my neighbour Blachowicz, but yeah,” said Prochazka when asked about the fight in his post-fight interview, referencing that Blachowicz’s home country of Poland borders his, the Czech Republic.
A fight against the champion could very well happen, although it doesn’t seem like something that will be made soon. Blachowicz is currently scheduled to defend his belt in September against Glover Teixeira, per reports.
Prochazka made his UFC debut last year, stopping former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir in the second round with strikes. He had previously built up a long win streak in Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN, becoming their light heavyweight champion along the way.
The fight on Saturday was Prochazka’s first UFC main event bout.
Prochazka had succeeded in the opening minutes of the bout before the stoppage. While he connected with a high volume of his punches, Reyes was able to answer back and even stun him for a moment in the second round.
Reyes took Saturday’s main event after fighting for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship twice last year. His first title fight, a bout against Jon Jones in early 2020, was a close battle that saw Jones retain on scorecards.
Reyes’ most recent showing before Saturday was against current champ Blachowicz, who stopped him in the second round of a fight in October.
Bout 10: Cub Swanson (27-11) vs. Giga Chikadze (12-2) (Featherweight)
Chikadze Stops Swanson Early With Body Kick
Giga Chikadze picked up a big win in his quickly growing UFC win streak, stopping veteran Cub Swanson in the first round with strikes. Chikadze’s win saw him drop Swanson with a body kick, allowing him to land a few punches on the ground before the referee stopped the fight.
Chikadze now has six wins since he entered the UFC in 2019. The 32-year-old’s win was his first appearance of the year, following up on a busy 2020 that saw him pick up four wins.
Following his win, Chikadze called out former UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway.
“Max Holloway, man, it would be an honour to fight you because you are one of the best,” said Chikdaze, who also proposed to possibly fight Calvin Kattar, who recently lost to Holloway.
Swanson’s previous fight saw him pick up a second-round stoppage victory over Daniel Pineda. The fight, which took place in December, was Swanson’s first after suffering a torn ACL in late 2019.
Bout 9: Ion Cutelaba (15-6) vs. Dustin Jacoby (14-5) (Light Heavyweight)
Cutelaba and Jacoby Fight To Draw
After Ion Cutelaba had a hot start in his fight and Dustin Jacoby looked better in the later rounds, the light heavyweights settled with a split draw on Saturday night (29-28 Jacoby, 29-28 Cutelaba & 28-28).
The fight went from Cutelaba having a dominant first round to slowing down in the following two rounds as fatigue set in.
Cutelaba was aggressive in the first round, pressuring Jacoby with strikes. Cutelaba did damage against the cage, scoring with elbows to Jacoby while in a clinch position.
Cutelaba slowed down significantly in the second round, allowing Jacoby to open up with more of his own strikes on the feet.
Cutelaba was making his return after losing a two-fight series against Magomed Ankalaev last year.
The fight broke a winning streak that Jacoby had built, which included two wins in the UFC octagon since re-joining the roster last year.
Bout 8: Sean Strickland (22-3) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (22-4) (Middleweight)
Strickland Continues Undefeated Middleweight Campaign With Win Over Jokto
Sean Strickland’s pressure on the feet earned him a decision victory against Krzysztof Jotko on Saturday (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
Strickland was given the win by judges due to his ability to consistently push forward with strikes that backed Jotko up during the entire 15 minute contest.
Strickland now has three wins since making the move up to middleweight last year. The UFC veteran made his return to the cage in the fall, picking up a win over Jack Marshman and Brendan Allen within a two-week space.
Jotko had a win streak of his own broken with the fight. While he had not competed in nearly a year, Jotko he was entering Saturday’s fight on a three-fight win streak.
Bout 7: Merab Dvalishvili (12-4) vs. Cody Stamann (19-3-1) (Bantamweight)
Dvalishvili Moves Win Streak To Six With Win Over Stamann
Merab Dvalishvili’s persistent pace of striking and takedowns earned him a unanimous decision win against Cody Stamann to kick off the main card (30-27, 29-28 & 29-28).
Dvalishvili’s success came from an overwhelming pace of strikes on the feet through all three rounds. As he is known for, Dvalishvili also scored numerous takedowns in the fight. He often used the positions on the ground to land punches.
Stamann was able to take dominant positions on the ground with takedowns, although Dvalishvili would stay active from the bottom with hammerfist punches to the head and body.
Dvalishvili is now on a six-fight winning streak. He picked up three wins last year, including a victory over bantamweight veteran John Dodson.
Dvalishvili asked for a former champion next, specifically mentioning Dominick Cruz in his post-fight interview.
Stamann lost in his previous fight as well, facing Jimmie Rivera last year.
Bout 6: Randa Markos (10-10-1) vs. Luana Pinheiro (8-1) (Strawweight)
Pinheiro’s UFC Debut Ends Within Round After Consuming Illegal Upkick
Luana Pinheiro’s UFC debut came to an unfortunate end in the first round, as an illegal upkick she took from Randa Markos made the referee opt to stop the fight. The strawweight match was ruled a disqualification, handing Pinheiro her first win in the promotion.
The illegal kick from Markos came while she was grounded, laying on her back. It connected with Pinheiro, who was on her knees in the moment.
The fight almost came to an end earlier in the round, as concerns were raised about damage done to Markos through unintentional eye pokes.
Pinheiro was getting her UFC debut after scoring a win on “Dana White’s Contender Series” last year, defeating Stephanie Frausto. With Saturday’s disqualification win, Pinheiro is now on a seven-fight win streak.
Bout 5: Kai Kamaka III (8-3) vs. TJ Brown (14-8) (Featherweight)
Brown Defeats Kamaka III In ‘Fight of the Night’ Contender
TJ Brown prevailed in a fast-paced battle against Kai Kamaka III via split decision on Saturday (30-27 Kamaka III, 29-28 Brown & 29-28 Brown). The impressive showing for the featherweights, which many on the UFC broadcast declared to be a “Fight of the Night” contender, included fast stand-up battles on the feet in every round.
The fight opened with the featherweights engaging in a high-intensity striking exchanges. Both fighters were able to stun each other in the second round, although it was a shot from Kamaka III that dropped Brown during the round. Brown was able to put pressure on Kamaka III while on his back, looking for a kimura from the position.
Kamaka III was able to keep Brown down for most of the final round, taking him down twice. They got back to the feet in the closing minutes, where the close striking exchanges continued.
“I know one thing is for sure is I fought my heart off,” said Brown in his post-fight interview.
The fight presented greatly different scorecards in the end, as judges varied from giving Kamaka III all three rounds to just one. The entire 15-member media panel of MMADecisions.com scored the fight for Kamaka III.
The win for Brown snapped a two-fight skid that he had built up with losses against Jordan Griffin and Danny Chavez last year.
Kamaka III will look to break a two-fight losing streak in his next appearance. His prior showing was in November, where Jonathan Pearce stopped him late in the second round with strikes.
Bout 4: Poliana Botelho (8-3) vs. Luana Carolina (6-2) (Flyweight)
Carolina Makes Comeback To Defeat Botelho
Luana Carolina was given her first win since her return last year, defeating Poliana Botelho in a close split decision fight (29-28 Carolina, 29-28 Botelho & 29-28 Carolina). Carolina’s win saw her make somewhat of a comeback, battling back from a first round that went the way of Botelho.
Botelho had the better start to the fight, being able to control Carolina on the ground for the first five minutes. Carolina started to take the fight over in the second round, taking more control of the fight and landing strikes.
Carolina’s best round came late, as she was able to take the back of Botelho and attempt a rear naked choke. While Botelho was never in great danger of being submitted, she stayed on the defence through the entire round.
The fight was Carolina’s first since 2019, where she won her UFC debut against Priscilla Cachoeira. Carolina lost her return to the cage last year, as Ariane Lipski submitted her with a kneebar in the first round.
Botelho has now lost her last two fights. Her previous showing saw her drop a decision to Gillian Robertson.
Bout 3: Sam Hughes (5-2) vs. Loma Lookboonmee (5-2) (Strawweight)
Lookboonmee Uses Striking And Takedowns To Get Scorecard Nod Over Hughes
Loma Lookboonmee earned her second consecutive UFC win on the prelims, defeating Sam Hughes in a unanimous decision performance (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28). The fight showed a well-rounded skillset from Lookboonmee, who competed on the feet and on the ground.
Lookboonmee was able to land takedowns from the clinch position in the first round. The fight shifted more towards striking in the second half, where Lookboonmee was able to do damage in clinch positions with knees and punches.
Lookboonmee now has three UFC wins through four appearances in the octagon. Her previous bout was in October of 2020, where she prevailed on scorecards against former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Jinh Yu Frey.
Hughes made her UFC debut on short notice last year, losing a fight to UFC veteran Tecia Torres.
Bout 2: KB Bhullar (8-1) vs. Andreas Michailidis (12-4) (Middleweight)
Michailidis Defeats Bhullar In Striking Battle
Andreas Michailidis out-landed KB Bhullar through three rounds to earn his first UFC victory via scorecards (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
Michailidis kept a faster pace than Bhullar during the fight. He started fast in the first round, unloading with wailing hooks that backed Bhullar up. Michailidis slowed down in the latter half of the fight, although he remained the leader in exchanges.
Both fighters were entering the fight after losing their UFC debut last year.
Michailidis made his UFC debut in July, where a dominant performance from Modestas Bukauskas was stopped after the first round.
Bhullar was handed his first pro loss last year by Tom Breese, who finished him in the second minute with strikes.
Bout 1: Luke Sanders (13-4) vs. Felipe Colares (9-2) (Featherweight)
Colares Prevails In Hectic, Tiring Performance Against Sanders
Felipe Colares was given the unanimous decision victory over Luke Sanders after a high-pace back-and-forth battle through three rounds (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28). The fight saw both featherweights have strong moments, even sometimes coming close to ending their bout.
Sanders hurt Colares early in the first round, knocking him down with a left cross. Colares was able come back later in the round, putting together his own shots later in the frame which clearly hurt Sanders.
Colares nearly finished the fight late in the second round, unleashing a flurry of punches to the head of Sanders while on his back. He had scored a few takedowns earlier in the round as well.
The final round saw the incredibly fatigued fighters trade hard blows on the feet. Like he was able to do in the rounds before, Colares was able to score takedowns as well.
Colares is now back in the win column after losing his previous fight to Montel Jackson in early 2020. Emotional after his win, he mentioned he was motivated by his mother, who is dealing with cancer.
Sanders, a UFC veteran of five years, has now lost two-in-a-row. His previous bout was in November, where Nate Maness stopped him with a rear naked choke.