Former middleweight champion Chris “All-American” Weidman made his light heavyweight debut on Friday in the UFC on ESPN 6 main event against No. 4 ranked Dominick Reyes. Reyes made short work of Weidman inside the TD Garden in Boston.
Reyes landed first with a leg kick to start the fight. Weidman moved forward and quickly changed levels to secure a takedown. Reyes quickly made his way back to his feet but Weidman kept the pressure on against the cage. He landed right hands to the body before the two separated.
Back at distance, Weidman pressed forward with a left hand and was met with a left hand counter the sat him down on the canvas. Reyes stayed composed and moved to the side and delivered three hammer fists that made Weidman go limp. Referee Herb Dean quickly stepped in to stop the fight.
“I was out there having fun, feeling loose. He came in and I put him down,” said Reyes following the TKO win. “Early in the fight I seen it. I seen the opening there. I saw him lunge in. I kind of knew he was going to lunge in and I cracked him in the jaw and then those hammer fists to finish it off. I knew that he was already hurt. I knew he was already hurt. It only took some touches to finish him off and that was it.”
With the win, Reyes remained undefeated and extended his winning streak to 12 consecutive fights. In his post-fight interview, “The Devastator” called out champion Jon Jones.
“Hey Jon, I don’t want any party favors. I want that belt. Let’s go,” he said.
It was a rough welcome to the 205-division for Weidman. He’s lost five of his last six fights – all by knockout or technical knockout – but remained positive following the loss.
“Props to Dominick Reyes,” he said. “Everyone that came here to support me, I apologize I didn’t get the W. It’s the game we play. I’ll be back better.”
Featherweight contenders Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens met in the fight card’s co-main event. The two headlined UFC on ESPN+ 17 on Sept. 21. The bout ended in 15 seconds in a No Contest after Rodriguez accidentally poked Stephens in the left eye rendering him unable to continue. On Friday, the two finished what they started last month in Mexico City.
Rodriguez took the fight to Stephens in the opening frame using a variety to kicks to keep “Lil Heathen” on the outside. He outworked Stephens and dictated the pace. Stephens had difficulty getting on the inside and was briefly knocked down by a jab as he tried to close the distance.
In the second round, Rodriguez was on the verge of finishing the fight. He landed a kick to the body that crumbled Stephens. On the ground, Rodriguez delivered punches, hammer fists and elbows. As the referee looked on closely ready to step in to stop it, Stephens did just enough to stay in the fight. He rose to his feet and went on the attack and secured a takedown.
Heading into the final round, Stephens needed a finish to win. He exploded forward with a flurry. Yair continued to utilize kicks but Stephens caught one early in the round and put Rodriguez on his back. Rodriguez quickly got back to his feet only to be taken down again seconds later. Stephens hammered away from the top position with punches and elbows but couldn’t do enough to overcome the first two rounds. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Rodriguez by unanimous decision.
“I feel great. I think I need to keep working on my wrestling, my takedown defense and standing up,” said Rodriguez following the win. “I was kind of compromised (in the third round) because I was down most of the round, but I never felt in danger.”