UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs. Prochazka Odds, Schedule, Predictions

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

UFC Vegas 25: Reyes vs. Prochazka Odds, Schedule, Predictions

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka are set to headline the latest card from the UFC's APEX Facility in Las Vegas on Saturday night. 

    In a post-Jon Jones world, the light heavyweight division feels as open as ever. Jan Blachowicz denied a takeover from middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, but we have yet to see the Polish champion defend the belt against a career light heavyweight. 

    Reyes appeared to be the heir apparent. After a hard-fought battle with Jones in February 2020, he was given the first crack at the vacant belt but was stunned by Blachowicz. Now, he draws another heavy-hitting European in Prochazka in what could be a light heavyweight title eliminator. 

    The rest of the card features an interesting array of emerging contenders and UFC veterans. The card isn't likely to draw the greatest ratings, but it should produce some high-quality scraps. 

    Here's a look at the complete offering with the latest odds and predictions for the biggest fights. 

Fight Card, Schedule and Odds—May 1

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    Leo Correa/Associated Press

    Main Card (ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET)

    • Dominick Reyes vs. Jiri Prochazka
    • Cub Swanson vs. Giga Chikadze
    • Ion Cuelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby
    • Sean Strickland vs. Krzysztof Jotko
    • Merab Dvalishvili vs. Cody Stamann
    • Poliana Botelho vs. Luana Carolina

    Prelims (ESPN2/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET)

    • Randa Markos vs. Luana Pinheiro
    • Kai Kamaka vs. TJ Brown
    • Loma Lookboonmee vs. Sam Hughes
    • Andreas Michailidis vs. KB Bhullar
    • Luke Sanders vs. Felipe Colares

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Reyes vs. Prochazka

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    In addition to being a really important fight, the main event is a matchup of somewhat mysterious fighters. 

    Reyes became known for his valiant effort against Jones. There are those who believe he actually did enough to top the champion the night he dropped a decision. But when you look back at his resume, there's a reason he was a sizable underdog against Bones. 

    Two of his biggest knockout wins came against former middleweights in Chris Weidman and Jared Cannonier. He fought Volkan Oezdemir to a split decision. It's hard to make an argument Reyes is a dominant light heavyweight.

    Reyes doesn't have what you would classify as elite tools. He is good, not great, at pretty much every element of fighting. 

    Prochazka is also hard to figure out. The Czech muay thai practitioner has a devastating history of finishes. He's won his last nine fights by knockout, but seven of those nine fights have come in Rizin in Japan. 

    C.B. Dollaway, Fabio Maldonado and Muhammed Lawal are among the names of the fighters he has beaten outside of the UFC. If Reyes fought that trio, he'd probably have three knockouts, too. 

    It certainly looked like his striking would transfer just fine in the UFC against Volkan Oezdemir, though. He found a home for a right hand that put Oezdemir out cold. It's likely he does the same thing again. 

    Prediction: Prochazka via second-round TKO

Swanson vs. Chikadze

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    Mel Evans/Associated Press

    After a 5-0 start for Giga Chikadze, the 32-year-old Georgian will see a step up in competition in Cub Swanson. Chikadze's wins have come against the likes of Jamey Simmons and Omar Morales. Saturday night, he'll have the opportunity to see a longtime UFC vet in Swanson. 

    The 37-year-old will enter the UFC Octagon for the 20th time in the co-main event, and he'll do so coming off back-to-back wins. After losing four straight fights from 2017-2019, Swanson has rallied to beat Kron Gracie and Daniel Pineda consecutively. 

    In many ways, Swanson is a perfect opponent for Chikadze at this point. He's put together enough wins that he deserves a chance to show he can do it against better competition, but he hasn't won in a way that demands a bigger spot than this one. 

    This one should be a kickboxing match. Swanson's strength has always been his boxing, and Chikadze isn't one to try to get a fight to the ground. 

    Swanson's toughness probably makes a finish unlikely. Instead, we should expect a back-and-forth striking affair with the younger Chikadze getting the better of more exchanges. 

    Prediction: Chikadze via decision

Cutelaba vs. Jacoby

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    Gary McCullough/Associated Press

    The main event might be the most important light heavyweight matchup, but the one between Ion Cutelaba and Dustin Jacoby is the most fun. 

    Cutelaba is a human tornado. He has a strong wrestling base, but he also loves to throw heavy leather, often recklessly. He lives up to his Hulk moniker in the way that his fighting always seems to come from a state of rage. 

    The result is a kill-or-be-killed nature to his fights. He hasn't seen a third round in six fights.

    Conversely, Jacoby is a much more tactical striker. He will look to beat his opponents in the stand up, but three of his last four wins have come by way of decision, and his last knockout came from leg kicks. 

    Jacoby is coming off back-to-back wins against Justin Ledet and Maxim Grishin, while Cutelaba has lost two in a row to Magomed Ankalaev. 

    Essentially, if Jacoby can survive the early onslaught, there's a chance he wins Rounds 2 and 3 to take the decision. But early survival is easier said than done when it comes to Cutelaba. If he cracks his opponent early, he will jump on the opportunity for an early stoppage. 

    Prediction: Cutelaba via first-round TKO


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