After huge knockout win at UFC Louisville, what’s next for Dominick Reyes?

Oct 18, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Dominick Reyes walks out of the ring after defeating Chris Weidman (not seen) in a light heavyweight bout during UFC Fight Night at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC Louisville, we saw a battle in the light heavyweight division. Former title challenger Dominick Reyes (13-4) returned to the octagon looking for his first win since 2019 when he took on former Glory kickboxer, Dustin Jacoby (19-9-1).

Back in February 2020, Dominick Reyes fought Jon Jones for five rounds and many including most of the media thought he did enough to dethrone the greatest of all time. However, all three judges gave the fight and to Jones. Following his career performance against Jones, injuries and three straight knockout losses completely derailed the career of Dominick Reyes.

Entering UFC Louisville, somehow, he was still ranked fifteenth in the world despite four straight losses and a ton of inactivity. He hadn’t fought since November 2022 and he was a sizable betting underdog to Dustin Jacoby. Jacoby started his octagon run 6-0-1 but entered Saturday night on a 1-3 stretch. He needed a win badly at UFC Louisville so there was a lot on the line.

Both men had some success early on. Jacoby was able to land a really good shot that checked the chin of Reyes. Reyes had been really easily hurt in his last few fights so once Jacoby popped him, he really got aggressive. However, Reyes never got hurt from any of the shots and remained composed.

Reyes stayed in the pocket and landed a beautiful check left hook that wobbled Jacoby badly. Reyes put his foot on the gas and then landed a flush knee. Jacoby covered up but Reyes unloaded a barrage of punches and finished him in the first round getting his first UFC win since October 2019.

What’s next after UFC Louisville?

Following the win, Reyes jumped on the cage and you could see the relief on his face from the win. The look on his face reminded me of when Tito Ortiz finished Ryan Bader in the first round back in 2011 after having gone winless in his previous five fights starting with a title loss. In a lot of ways, the two fights mirrored each other.

Now, Dominick Reyes is back in the win column and in the latest update, he’s ranked 13th in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Up two spots from where he was when he made the walk. So, after this massive knockout win, what’s next for Dominick Reyes?

Originally, Reyes was supposed to fight Carlos Ulberg last Saturday, but Ulberg was moved to the UFC 303 co-main event against Jamahal Hill. Honestly, it was probably a blessing in disguise for Reyes. Outside of Ulberg, there are two guys in front of Reyes in the rankings that makes a ton of sense.

The first and I think the most likely opponent is fellow former title challenger Anthony “Lionheart” Smith. Smith is coming off a big time submission win over Vitor Petrino last month in Brazil. Smith is 2-1 in his last three fights. Reyes and Smith have long been linked to fight each other but it never materialized. Now might be the perfect time for the UFC to make it happen.

Another option is a guy who looks like Anthony Smith in Bogdan Guskov. Guskov lost his UFC debut to Volkan Oezdemir but he’s won back-to-back fights by stoppage including a TKO win over Ryan Spann. Guskov also makes a lot of sense for Dominick Reyes.

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