Following a recent trend of middleweight contenders trying their luck at the light heavyweight limit, Chris Weidman’s jump into the deep end of 205 lbs did not reap the rewards he would have hoped for.
With the first real stinging punch of the fight, Dominick Reyes gave the former middleweight champion a cold welcome to the light heavyweight division. Putting Weidman down with a counter left straight, one or two more strikes brought the bout to an impromptu early end.
After recording the first-round TKO win, Reyes is now 12 fight unbeaten into his professional MMA career – nine of which won inside the distance.
Going forward for ‘The Devastator’, Reyes will no doubt want his shot at light heavyweight champion Jon Jones so lets put forward five fights for the biggest winners of UFC on ESPN 6:
Dominick Reyes vs. Jon Jones or Anthony Smith
With a scarcity of light heavyweight contenders, there appears to be two men left standing for Jon Jones’ next title challenger.
On one side, you have Dominick Reyes who has put together a strong resume within the UFC over six fights and on the other, Johnny Walker who has blitzed through all three of his UFC fights.
If Johnny Walker were to continue the quick nature of his victories and beat Corey Anderson at UFC 244 in a few weeks time, the explosive Brazilian feels more like a fighter you have to strike with while the iron is hot than Dominick Reyes.
If that’s the case, Reyes will likely have to step aside for the time being and a fight against the veteran Anthony Smith would be a smart final test for the rising star.
Yair Rodriguez vs. Magomedsharipov / Kattar Winner
Emerging victorious in an excellent back and forth bout with Jeremy Stephens, Yair Rodriguez picked up another strong win in the featherweight division.
‘El Pantera’ is now climbing towards the title picture at 145 lbs and the young upstart could be challenging for gold sooner rather than later.
With Zabit Magomedsharipov in a similar situation – and some history between the pair already there – a fight between Magomedsharipov and Rodriguez would be an excellent title eliminator.
With that being said, as ‘Zabeast’ prepares for a fight of his own against the tough Calvin Kattar, whoever picks up the ‘W’ in that bout should be earmarked for Rodriguez.
Maycee Barber vs. Lauren Murphy
Maycee Barber’s power on the feet proved too much for Gillian Anderson to handle as the flyweight prospect scored a first-round TKO win.
Barber is on a much-publicized quest to become the youngest UFC champion in history and so will be looking up the rankings for her next opponent.
With much of the 125 lbs division’s top tier already booked into fights, however, Lauren Murphy remains an open and interesting proposition for Barber to overcome as the #9 ranked contender.
Darren Stewart vs. Eryk Anders
Handing Deron Winn his first professional loss, Darren ‘The Dentist’ Stewart seemingly addressed a fault with his cardio to help him pick up a split decision win.
The Englishman is now 4-1 in his last five bouts at middleweight and will be looking at a decent name to test his mettle against for his next outing.
With Eryk Anders getting a win of his own last weekend and holding a similar UFC record to his name, a fight between the two big hitters seems like a sensible bout to make with the winner going on to challenge someone within the top 15 in 2020.
Molly McCann vs. Antonina Shevchenko
Liverpool’s own Molly McCann racked up her third straight win in the UFC as a bruising ground-and-pound filled performance secured a wide unanimous decision win.
‘Meatball’ is now on the joint-longest current winning streak in the UFC’s flyweight division outside of the champion Valentina Shevchenko and with that deserves some respect.
With the champion’s own sister Antonina sitting at the #14 spot in the promotion’s rankings, McCann should be rewarded with a chance at getting a number next to her name.