UFC ‘Chile’ Clash: Cannonier Vs. Reyes!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight knockout artists Jared Cannonier and Dominick Reyes will duel this Saturday (May 19, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 129 inside Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile.

Cannonier’s mixture of athleticism and kickboxing technique has produced mixed results. He’s scored a couple great knockout wins, but also faltered against high-level competition, resulting in an even UFC record after six bouts. Meanwhile, Reyes is less experienced, but his performances have been flawless. “The Devastator” has finished all but one of his eight victories inside the first round, and most of those wins came in the opening minute.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Jared Cannonier
Record: 10-3
Key Wins: Ion Cutelaba (TUF 24 Finale), Cyril Asker (UFC Fight Night 86), Tony Lopez (AFC 104)
Key Losses: Glover Teixeira (UFC 208), Jan Blachowicz (UFC on FOX 26), Shawn Jordan (UFC 182)
Keys to Victory: Cannonier is a rather slick kickboxer. He moves his feet well, waiting for the right moment to suddenly cover distance with brutal strikes. Last time out, he got caught waiting a bit too much, but it’s unlikely that Reyes tries to merely out-point his fellow power puncher.

This will be a firefight.

Unlike any of Reyes’ past opponents, Cannonier can crack similarly hard. Given his footwork and experience, it might behoove Cannonier to avoid early exchanges. Reyes is a prospect who likes to knockout opponents in less than 60 seconds — he probably will be unable to resist chasing the Alaskan. If Cannonier can convince his opponent to attack, there will be openings for the counter shots. Between Reyes’ aggression and Cannonier’s power, it’s very likely that a clean counter will end the fight.

VS.

Dominick Reyes
Record: 8-0
Key Wins: Joachim Christensen (UFC Fight Night 112), Jeremy Kimball (UFC 218), Jordan Powell (LFA 13)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Reyes is perhaps the most promising prospect at 205 pounds. He’s a full-sized Light Heavyweight with clear athletic gifts. More than that, he has big power in both his feet and hands, moves well, and showed some slick grappling last time out.

Until Reyes is an easily recognized name, I’m going to keep posting this highlight in every article I write about him.

Reyes is a rangy Southpaw and makes full use of a powerful left kick and left cross. It’s the classic Southpaw double threat: slip the cross and you’ll eat a kick, whereas blocking the kick will result in a mouthful of knuckle. Opposite a fighter who will not willingly give him the pocket, establishing the kick will be pivotal in cutting off the cage, slowing Cannonier down, and setting up his combinations.

Aside from that, it would be good to see some offensive takedowns from Reyes, something he looked quite good in his last fight. If he has the ability to fluidly mix a shot into his offense, it will really go a long way in throwing off Cannonier’s timing and movement. Plus, Reyes thrives in the pocket, and closing the distance with a shot is a great way to land there.

Bottom Line: It’s a slugfest and major test for Reyes.

Cannonier has alternated wins and losses since stepping into the Octagon, most recently coming up short to a resurgent Jan Blachowicz. To remain in his current state of both exciting and sort of relevant, Cannonier has to continue the pattern and return to the win column. Otherwise, he’s unlikely to be booked against top 10-ranked opposition for a while.

All that said, Cannonier is still a prospect himself, and Light Heavyweight is barren enough that a ranking is hardly an unreasonable goal no matter what happens on Saturday night.

As for Reyes, this is a far more challenging opponent than either of the men he’s faced recently. None of Reyes’ past opposition is anywhere near his level of athleticism, which allowed him to blow through them effortlessly. Cannonier is similarly fast and powerful, and he’s a slick striker himself, which means the result of this bout will say a lot about Reyes’ future.

If “Devastator” mauls Cannonier like he’s just another fighter, buy stock in Reyes immediately, as that would be a clear signal that he’s destined for title contention within a year or two. More realistically, a tough win or even close loss will show what the prospect has to fix in his game, with the only difference being that a victory sets Reyes up for a ranked foe next time out.

At UFC Fight Night 129, Jared Cannonier and Dominick Reyes will throw down. Which man will have his hand raised?

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