Prochazka dispatches Reyes with third spinning back-elbow KO in UFC history

Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka were at early career crossroads entering UFC on ESPN 23. Another loss for Reyes would be three straight and push the former title challenger out of the contention conversation for the next couple of years. A twelfth straight win for “Denisa”, and second in the UFC, could very well move the former RIZIN light heavyweight champion to the front of the title shot line. The question was, which streak would end?

Early in the fight, Prochazka worked his awkward style of changing stances and moving in and out. Reyes seemed prepared for it and landed a few thudding left kicks. Three minutes in, Reyes scored a takedown, however, the Czech was able to quickly get the fight back to the feet. A minute later the fifth-ranked fighter landed a right hand that hurt Reyes and had him on his heels for the rest of the frame. The final two minutes of the round saw Prochazka chase and damage Reyes often. “The Devastator” tried to counter with big strikes when the opportunities arose, but “Denisa” showed his chin is as difficult to crack as his striking style.

Both men dealt out crushing strikes throughout the second round, but somehow Prochazka seemed unfazed while Reyes showed the damage he took as his nose looked broken and bloody, and his movements slowed. With 2:20 left Reyes showcased his heart and landed a shot on his opponent that actually seemed to hurt the former RIZIN champ. The strike forced a takedown from Prochazka, but the ground battle only lasted for a minute before the fight itself was put on ice.

Once the fight returned to the feet, it was much of the same until a combination of a forward right elbow, then delayed spinning back elbow by Prochazka put the former title challenger to sleep before he even hit the ground. It was another crushing win for the 28-year-old and just the third spinning back elbow knockout in UFC history. It is his twelfth straight win and tenth knockout in a row. He is likely in line for a championship opportunity after another phenomenal performance in the Octagon.

After starting his career with 12 straight wins, Reyes how now lost three straight and could be outside the top-five next week. It will be interesting if the UFC gives him another top-five foe next, or someone a little further down in the pecking order to try and rebuild a relatively young talent.

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