UFC London fight to watch: Oezdemir vs. Reyes
The UFC has been on a hot streak as of late, delivering fight cards full of exciting bouts almost every weekend. This weekend is no different as the Octagon returns to London for another stacked night of fighting in the world’s top mixed martial arts organization.
There are quite a few fights that MMA fans should keep their eyes peeled for this weekend but in my opinion, the lead fight of the night contender is going to take place in the light heavyweight division as the #6 ranked Volkan Oezdemir (15-3) faces the #8 ranked Dominick Reyes (10-0).
Although not quite the number one contender determining fight that we have gotten used to as of late, the matchup between these two heavy hitters is exciting, to say the least.
Both fighters have a lot on the line in this bout regardless of whether they will get the title shot after a win or not. Oezdemir needs to get back into the win column, coming off two consecutive losses after his hot start in the UFC and Reyes is looking to add a big fish to his record as he quietly climbs up the light heavyweight ranks.
Oezdemir really needs no introduction after he stormed onto the scene two years ago and put away three respectable opponents to start his UFC career which as a result quickly earned him a title shot.
The dominant first-round knockout victories over Mischa Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa followed by the catchy “No Time” celebration made Oezdemir stand out, and granted him the first crack at Daniel Cormier who had just relinquished his belt after Jon Jones got suspended for testing positive again.
In the end, “DC” proved to be a bar set too high, as Oezdemir fell to a second-round TKO loss and was sent back to the drawing board. He tried to immediately bounce back against the most recent title challenger in Anthony Smith, but to the surprise of many, Smith dispatched the Swiss fighter via a third-round submission and suddenly, Oezdemir found himself in a bit of an awkward position.
Oezdemir was shaping up to be a very strong contender in the light heavyweight division but the two-fight losing streak now has him with his back against the wall as he has slipped down the division rankings. Getting a win against a promising contender that is Dominick Reyes would do Oezdemir the world of good and allow him to get his feet back under him in the 205-pound standings.
Dominick Reyes is not quite as known to the masses as his counterpart despite being in the UFC for the same amount of time. Over his two years, Reyes has notched up a (4-0) record in the UFC by knocking off some lower ranked opponents and gradually making his way up the light heavyweight rankings.
Nicknamed “the Devastator,” Reyes has finished eight of his ten professional fights and in those victories, he showed that he can get it done both standing up and on the ground due to his kickboxing and wrestling backgrounds.
His most recent win against Ovince Saint Preux proved that he is for real and ready to take the next step and face arguably the biggest challenge of his career.
The light heavyweight division is not very deep right now, and so a win over Oezdemir could really propel Reyes into the bright lights of the division and make him one of the more dangerous prospects that are yet to face Jon Jones alongside Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker.
It would seem that both fighters are on two completely opposite ends of the spectrum if you look at what’s on the line for Oezdemir and Reyes this weekend. But even though Oezdemir is fighting to bounce back and get out of a slump, and Reyes is fighting to remain undefeated and keep his hype train rolling, a win for either of those guys could put them right into the title picture in this division.
There really is no telling on who is next in line for the shot at the light heavyweight crown right now. It’s really a matter of who Dana White and the matchmakers fancy to see go against Jones. A win on the weekend could throw either fighter right into the equation and give the UFC boss a real headache when scheduling Jones’ next title defence.
Sports journalist currently based in CA, USA.