Jiri Prochazka used UFC Vegas 25 to let Dominick Reyes and the rest of the light heavyweight division know he's going to be a problem. The 28-year-old defeated Reyes in the main event by knockout in the second round Saturday.
Prochazka went on the prowl early. The unconventional striker was in Reyes' grill with his hands down early darting in and out before uncorking a right hand that wobbled him.
The Devastator answered at first by utilizing some wrestling to initiate the clinch. But soon he was joining in on the fun of the striking exchanges, answering back Prochazka's combinations with some counterpunches of his own.
If Prochazka was afraid of running out of steam, he certainly didn't make it known. He came out just as aggressive in the second round and landed some serious shots.
The only thing that did slow him down was Reyes stinging him with a straight and then latching on to a guillotine. The former light heavyweight title challenger wasn't able to capitalize, though, and the fight got back to the feet.
That was bad news for Reyes, who permanently went on Prochazka's highlight reel.
Prochazka hasn't been in the UFC long, but he's certainly made his presence felt. He now holds back-to-back wins over Volkan Oezdemir and Reyes, both were knockout wins in the second round.
His winning streak now includes 10 straight knockout wins and 12 wins in a row total. The former Rizin champion is making it hard to deny he should have a chance at UFC gold soon.
- Jiri Prochazka def. Dominick Reyes via KO at 4:29 of Round 2
- Giga Chikadze def. Cub Swanson via TKO at 1:03 of Round 1
- Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby is a split draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28)
- Sean Strickland def. Krzysztof Jotko via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
- Merab Dvalishvili def. Cody Stamann via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
- Luana Pinheiro def. Randa Markos via DQ (illegal upkick) at 4:16 of Round 1
- T.J. Brown def. Kai Kamaka via split decision (29-28 x2, 27-30)
- Luana Carolina def. Poliana Botelho via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
- Loma Lookboonmee def. Sam Hughes via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Andreas Michailidis def. KB Bhullar via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
- Felipe Colares def. Luke Sanders via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Giga Chikadze def. Cub Swanson
In a night that was marred by several fights going to a decision, Giga Chikadze made sure he stood out with a first-round knockout win over Cub Swanson in the co-main event.
Fighting for the first time in 2021, Chikadze had some things to prove in his first fight against a recognizable name. His 5-0 start in the UFC was impressive in terms of taking care of business, but Swanson was much better competition.
It didn't matter. The Georgian was ready for the moment. A little less than a minute into the fight, he unleashed a liver kick that doubled Swanson over. A few punches later, and the fight was called off.
It was just the second time that Swanson has lost by knockout or TKO. Jose Aldo also knocked out Swanson in 2009.
That's a testament to the kind of power he has in those body kicks. It was Chikadze's ninth first-round win in his career.
After that performance, it's safe to say that Chikadze is ready for an even bigger fight next time out.
Ion Cutelaba and Dustin Jacoby Fight to Split Draw
In a rare occurrence, Ion Cutelaba and Dustin Jacoby battled it out for three rounds to a split draw.
As is typical for Cutelaba, The Hulk got off to a hot start. He dominated the first round, tying a light heavyweight record set by Jimmy Crute for takedowns in a round with eight. How the judges would score that round became important with the possibility of a 10-8 round.
The next two rounds were much more evenly matched. With Cutelaba testing his own gas tank, Jacoby was able to get back into the fight and arguably won the next two rounds.
It was a difficult fight to score, as evidenced by the scorecards. Each fighter had one judge who thought they won 29-28, while the third judge saw it as a 28-28 draw.
It wouldn't be the worst thing for these two to run it back. The fight was entertaining, and neither appears to be on a fast track to bigger and better things.
Sean Strickland def. Krzysztof Jotko
Sean Strickland and Krzysztof Jotko were both middleweights who had put together nice runs going into Saturday night. It was Tarzan's win streak that was preserved, though, as Strickland soundly took a unanimous decision over Jotko.
Stickland's striking was the difference. With neither fighter looking to take the other down, this one featured plenty of kickboxing, and Strickland clearly held the advantage. He more than doubled Jotko's strikes landed while actually throwing less.
He was even moving between rounds, as he was buzzing along in a strong outing.
After missing all of 2019, Strickland is making up for lost time. He has now won four fights in a row and continues to look better each time out. Jotko has kind of demonstrated his ceiling, but it's still hard to tell just how far Strickland can go at this point.
Merab Dvalishvili def. Cody Stamann
In a battle of the bantamweight grapplers, it was Merab Dvalishvili who was able to impose his will more often in a unanimous-decision win over Cody Stamann.
As is often the case, the battle between the two wrestlers turned into a striking match. Dvalishvili was able to notch five takedowns, but it only led to just over a minute-and-a-half of control time. Stamann conversely was able to stick just one takedown but had almost three minutes of control.
Ultimately, the difference was Dvalishvili's quickness and ability to mix things up.
Stamann was never able to get too comfortable as the Georgian did a good job of changing levels and combining his striking and wrestling.
The win gives Dvalishvili six in a row after he lost his first two UFC fights. It might be time to see him get a jump up in competition.