Dominick Reyes is considered a promising prospect in the UFC’s light heavyweight division, and at UFC 229 on Saturday in Las Vegas, he proved exactly why.
Overshadowed, without question, at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday was a key light heavyweight match-up. With the lightweights (McGregor, Nurmagomedov, Ferguson, Pettis) the talk of the town, Ovince Saint Preux versus Dominick Reyes felt like an afterthought. Yet it was a key fight for both men: the biggest test yet for the newly ranked Reyes. The chance to put a streak together and move back into contention for perennial top-10 fighter Saint Preux.
Reyes kicked OSP’s legs out from under him early, then moved to body kicks. His hands were going as well, and the relative newcomer had Saint Preux backing up. Saint Preux would look to change things up, pressing Reyes up against the cage looking for a takedown. Reyes answered with a elbow after elbow, perhaps changing Saint Preux’s mind about that avenue of attack. Back in the open, Reyes continued to mix his strikes up, attacking the legs, going to the body with more kicks, and having his hands flowing.
Round two opened with OSP needing a change in approach. Yet again, Reyes almost immediately connected to the lead leg of Saint Preux. This time, it was Reyes getting the better of a clinch by the cage relatively early on. Good head position kept him in control until OSP finally pushed him off. That, however, just put the fight back in Reyes’ wheelhouse. Reyes would launch an overhand, while Saint Preux would finally go to the body with a kick. He’d need more of that to get back in the fight, at right about the halfway mark. Reyes, meanwhile, wasn’t phased, but seemed to be slowing just a little. He still connected with a whip-like kick to the lower leg of his opponent. Speaking of, Saint Preux was bleeding, fairly badly, from a cut on the forehead.
Between sounds, Saint Preux’s corner literally screamed that he needed a finish. And he very likely did. Yet the opening minutes of the third and final round continued to be a back-and-forth affair. OSP seemed stymied, unable to get the fight to the ground, unable to win the striking exchanges. Dominick Reyes even managed to connect with an uppercut while moving backwards. He came over the top. Then, in a brief bright spot for OSP, a caught kick. He charged forward, but couldn’t take Reyes down. The Hatian-American would land flush with a punch late in the fight, but he’d eaten another elbow from Reyes, and was bleeding heavy once again. Then what looked to be a finish, as Dominick Reyes floored Saint Preux with a left hand. Reyes walked off, with OSP unable to stand back up, at least initially. It looked like a walk-off KO. Yet Reyes was robbed of the finish, as the bell sounded before ref Big Dan Miragliotta could make the call and wave off the fight.
— UFC (@ufc) October 7, 2018
So no finish for Reyes. The lesson learned, however, is that Dominick Reyes is the real deal. It’s easy to forget that not too long ago, Ovince Saint Preux fought for an interim title in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. It was a big test for Reyes, and he definitely passed.
Dominick Reyes def. Ovince Saint Preux by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)