Prochazka nearing title shot after spinning elbow KO of Reyes

UFC light-heavyweight Jiri Prochazka after his knockout win over Dominick Reyes. (YouTube/UFC)

Jiri Prochazka continued his reign of terror on the 205-pound division over the weekend with a spinning elbow knockout of Dominick Reyes in their UFC Fight Night main event.

Prochazka is now 2-0 in the UFC and already eyeing a light-heavyweight title shot. Meanwhile, Reyes has lost three in a row and has been knocked out in two straight after beginning his MMA career 12-0.

The pair traded with tremendous force for more than nine minutes. Prochazka out-landed Reyes 78-68 in total strikes and the knockout blow will undeniably be among the contenders for 2021 KO of the Year.

Prochazka and Reyes each earned a Fight of the Night bonus for the scrap and Prochazka picked up an additional $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus for the finish.

Two fights, two wins, two knockouts, three performance bonuses. Is hasn’t taken Prochazka a long time to make a lasting impression on the rest of the UFC roster.

UFC president Dana White suggested prior to the fight the winner would be in line to face the winner of Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira, which is expected to take place sometime in late summer.

Prochazka was ranked No. 5 in the division prior to his win over No. 3-ranked Reyes. No. 2 Aleksandar Rakic and No. 7 Magomed Ankalaev are also on impressive streaks and remain in the title picture.

The current titleholder sent a tweet indicating he was impressed with what he saw from his fellow European.

Prochazka has gone 23-1-1 since mid-2013 and avenged his lone loss during that stretch. The 28-year-old rising Czech star has now knocked out his last 10 opponents and holds a previous win over current Bellator MMA champion Vadim Nemkov.

There may still be certain deficiencies with Prochazka’s game – he said at his post-fight press conference he was slightly disappointed he was hit so much by Reyes – but between his power, pace, chin and unique movement he has cemented himself as a legitimate threat to the title.

"(I want) to share the cage with the toughest opponent in the world," Prochazka told reporters in Las Vegas after his win. "I want to be the best."

Speaking of potential future title challengers, featherweight Giga Chikadze improved to 6-0 in the UFC with a 63-second win in the co-main event. The Georgian kickboxer became just the second fighter to finish Cub Swanson with strikes – the last was Jose Aldo’s famous 2009 eight-second flying knee in the WEC.

Merab Dvalishvili and Sean Strickland each extended their winning streaks on the main card, while Ion Cutelaba and Dustin Jacoby fought to a split draw following their scuffle at the weigh-ins.

Canadians went 0-2 on the card. KB Bhullar dropped a unanimous decision to Andreas Michailidis and Randa Markos was disqualified for an illegal upkick against Luana Pinheiro.

Below are the complete results from the event.

-- Jiri Prochazka def. Dominick Reyes by knockout
-- Giga Chikadze def. Cub Swanson by technical knockout
-- Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby ends in split draw
-- Sean Strickland def. Krzysztof Jotko by unanimous decision
-- Merab Dvalishvili def. Cody Stamann by unanimous decision

-- Luana Pinheiro def. Randa Markos via disqualification (illegal upkick)
-- T.J. Brown def. Kai Kamaka III by split decision
-- Luana Carolina def. Poliana Botelho by split decision
-- Loma Lookboonmee def. Sam Hughes by unanimous decision
-- Andreas Michailidis def. KB Bhullar by unanimous decision
-- Felipe Colares def. Luke Sanders by unanimous decision

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