Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones vacated the 205-pound title on August 17 to pursue a title run in the heavyweight division. On Saturday, the UFC crowned a new champion.
Former title challenger Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz fought for the vacant belt in the UFC 253 co-main event at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi and resulted in the second Polish-born fighter winning UFC gold.
The two were cautious in the opening round respecting each other’s finishing ability. Reyes mounted a kicking heavy offense while Blachowicz pressed forward with combinations and targeted Reyes’ body with kicks. Blachowicz outworked Reyes in the round nearly doubling Reyes’ output.
The pace picked up in the second round. Reyes came out aggressive and the two started exchanging inside the pocket. Late in the frame, Blachowicz exploded forward with a combination. Reyes returned fire but was hit with a counter left hand during the exchange. He staggered and stumbled to the ground. Blachowicz forced the referee to step in with follow-up strikes. The official time of the stoppage was 4:36 of the second round.
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The win extended Blachowicz’ winning streak to four fights. During his post-fight interview, Blachowicz called out former champion Jon Jones.
“Jon Jones, where are you,” asked Blachowicz after the win. “Don’t be a quitter. I am here. This is how we do it in Poland. I’m waiting for you.”