Normally, UFC events are on Saturday nights. That’s not the case this week from the TD Garden in Boston, however, as former middleweight champion Chris Weidman takes on Dominick Reyes in a light-heavyweight bout on Friday. Here’s a look at that and the co-main event for UFC on ESPN 6 with their MMA odds.
UFC on ESPN 6 Odds, Reyes vs Weidman Betting Preview & Prediction
- When: Friday, 9 PM ET
- Where: TD Garden, Boston
- TV: ESPN2
- Live Stream: WatchESPN
Chris Weidman (14-4) vs. Dominick Reyes (11-0)
Reyes is -170 for this light-heavyweight bout and Weidman +140. As noted above, Weidman is a former UFC middleweight champion who will make his light-heavyweight debut in this one. In 2013, Weidman became a star by becoming the first man to defeat Anderson Silva (which he did twice) inside the UFC to become the middleweight champion, which he held for approximately two and a half years before losing it to Luke Rockhold.
A rematch with Rockhold was scheduled to take place on June 4, 2016, at UFC 199. However, Weidman pulled out of the fight with a cervical disc herniation. Another rematch with Rockhold was expected to take place on November 3, 2018 at UFC 230. However, withdrew from the bout, citing injury, and he was replaced by Ronaldo Souza. Weidman lost to Souza by third-round knockout.
He has out-struck his opponent in all 10 of his UFC victories. Weidman has completed at least one takedown in all 14 of his UFC appearances. Weidman’s 37 takedowns landed in UFC middleweight competition are tied with Thales Leites for most in divisional history.
What about Reyes?
Standing in Weidman’s way is the fourth-ranked light heavyweight in the world in Reyes, a rising star in the division who might get a shot at champion Jon Jones with a win. Reyes has shown slick striking and devastating power in his short UFC run.
“This is my first main event ever. This isn’t just in the UFC – I’ve never really gotten the opportunity to be a main event. In my mind, it’s like I almost never got the respect I deserved,” Reyes said.
Reyes’ five-fight UFC winning streak at light heavyweight is the longest active streak in the division. Reyes has earned eight of his 11 career victories by first-round stoppage. That includes three of his five UFC wins. Reyes lands 5.05 significant strikes per minute in UFC light heavyweight competition, the second highest rate among active fighters in the weight class behind Ion Cutelaba (5.27).
A big part of Reyes’ striking advantage is his ability to control distance and land when fighters are standing. Of his landed significant strikes, 73% have come at distance, with another 17% coming in the clinch. If this fight stays off the ground, Reyes is the clear favorite. The man known as “The Devastator” has stopped eight opponents in the first round, and he stopped four of those eight opponents in under a minute.
Side by Side
There isn’t much that separates Weidman and Reyes when it comes to their respective finishing rates. The more experienced Weidman boasts a 72 percent stoppage rate, 43 percent by knockout and 29 percent by submission. Reyes, on the other hand, has a 73 percent stoppage rate, 55 percent by knockout and 18 percent by submission.
Weidman must do more than simply score takedowns. He will need to find a way to implement his ground-based offense to swing the fight in his favor.
Yair Rodriguez (12-2) vs. Jeremy Stephens (28-16)
It’s a pick’em for this featherweight bout with both at -115. They just fought last month in the main event at UFC on ESPN+ 17. The bout ended in a “No Contest” just 15 seconds into the first round after Rodríguez accidentally swatted Stephens in the left eye.
Referee Herb Dean did everything within his authority to let Stephens continue after Stephens took the eye rake. Dean repeatedly reminded Stephens he could take the full 5 minutes allotted under the rules and made the cageside doctor aware, as well. Stephens admitted “he got me good” and his eye looked practically glued shut when the allotted time ran out, giving Dean no choice but to wave things off and call the no contest.
The no contest, the first for both competitors, left Rodriguez on a two-fight winning streak, and Stephens on a two-fight losing streak.
Rodriguez was visibly upset that Stephens couldn’t continue but he said he understood Stephens’ position — somewhat. Rodriguez was amped to get back into action because the Mexican hadn’t fought since his electrifying last-second knockout win over Chan Sung Jung last November.
“You always have to give the benefit of the doubt to your opponent,” he said. “You don’t know how he’s feeling. But he’s the only one who is going to have to live with that in his mind for the rest of his life, if it was a lie.”
The first fight took place on Rodriguez’s home turf in Mexico City at high elevation. Moreover, it was scheduled for five rounds. This one is at sea level and three rounds. Rodriguez doesn’t quite have the knockout penchant as Stephens does, but he does have knockouts of his own. His thrilling last-second elbow KO of Sung Jung was his fourth overall. Before that, he was able to drop and stop BJ Penn, Andre Fili and Edgar Juarez. And then there’s Stephens, who holds 19 victories by KO or TKO.
Rodriguez’s six fight-night bonuses in UFC featherweight bouts are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Cub Swanson (eight), Max Holloway (seven) and Sung Jung (seven).
Stephens’ 18 knockdowns landed in UFC competition are tied with Anderson Silva for second most in company history behind Cerrone (20). Stephens’ 11 knockdowns landed in UFC featherweight competition are most in divisional history.
Expert UFC on ESPN 6 Betting Picks
Reyes by KO/TKO and Rodriguez by decision.
Rest of the UFC on ESPN 6 Card
- Greg Hardy vs. Ben Sosoli
- Joe Lauzon vs. Jonathan Pearce
- Maycee Barber vs. Gillian Robertson
- Deron Winn vs. Darren Stewart
- Charles Rosa vs. Manny Bermudez
- Molly McCann vs. Diana Belbiţă
- Kyle Bochniak vs. Sean Woodson
- Randy Costa vs. Boston Salmon
- Court McGee vs. Sean Brady
- Brendan Allen vs. Kevin Holland
- Daniel Spitz vs. Tanner Boser