Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight prospects Joachim Christensen and Dominick Reyes will throw down this Sunday (June 25, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 112 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
A well-traveled veteran of the European mixed martial arts (MMA) scene, Christensen’s UFC career hasn’t exactly been going as planned. He’s lost two of his three bout inside the Octagon, and he’ll have to find a different result in this match up to avoid returning to regional shows. Most of the people reading this probably don’t remember hearing Reyes’ name — this is his promotional debut after all — but he came to fame earlier this year with a viral knockout of a showboating opponent. Rather than talk more, I’ll just link that below.
Pffffff. Amazing head kick KO by Dominick Reyes. That head shake…. #LFA13 pic.twitter.com/jnoL6WEndq
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) June 3, 2017
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Bojan Mihajlovic (UFC Fight Night 103), Anthony Ruiz (Abu Dhabi Warriors 4), Jonas Billstein (German MMA Championship 7)
Key Losses: Gadzhimurad Antigulov (UFC 211), Henrique da Silva (UFC Fight Night 96)
Keys to Victory: Christensen is not the most dynamic athlete around at 38 years old, but he is one of the more well-rounded men outside the rankings in his division. He’s comfortable wherever the fight goes and can keep a good pace throughout the fight, making him a solid test for the debuting prospect.
In this bout, mixing it up will be key for Christensen. Reyes is the quicker man, but he’s also untested and used to finishing his bouts quickly. Christensen has the technical striking skill to avoid getting blitzed immediately, and he should use that to put the pressure on Reyes.
Given the opportunity, Christensen would be smart to transition into takedowns along the fence. Clinch wrestling was something of a strength for him prior to his UFC run, and he needs to bring those takedowns back to his approach in this bout. Consistent offense is the real goal, as Reyes does not fight to win decisions or length battles. If Christensen can move forward and throwing will occasionally hunting for takedowns, there’s a fair chance the momentum will shift into his corner as his foe fatigues.
Key Wins: Jordan Powell (LFA 13)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Reyes is a fast and powerful athlete with some quality stand up. He moves his feet well, favors shifting punches, and “The Devastator” has actually finished his last two bouts via high kick knockout.
Despite his success in Europe, Christensen has proven to have a real issue with superior athletes. Antigulov overwhelmed him almost immediately, whereas Christensen seemed to weather the storm of Henrique da Silva before falling into an armbar.
Reyes has the speed and power to make his life miserable.
On the feet, Reyes can apply his usual mix of quick striking and power to trouble Christensen. While the Danish athlete has proven durable, it’s hard for any chin to stand up to a head kick. Even if that perfect strikes doesn’t materialize, Reyes’ physical edge should allow him to avoid getting caught up in takedowns. So long as he doesn’t empty the gas tank trying to finish early, Reyes has a strong chance of making a great debut.
Bottom Line: It’s a veteran vs. prospect match up in a division that needs more of everything.
Christensen fights with more skill than his 1-2 record indicates, but he still needs to carve out a position for himself in UFC. If he can win this bout and even out his record, it will go a long way in proving his worth as a gatekeeper. Alternatively, a loss may earn him the pink slip. He does have the staggering emptiness of the Light Heavyweight division on his side though, which could allow him one more chance.
This is Reyes’ chance to make a strong first impression opposite a reasonable challenge. Christensen is good enough to capitalize on slip ups or a lazy performance, but he’s also not some unstoppable force. Basically, if the 27 year old is ready for Top 15 challenges, he’s going to blitz through his opponent. If not, he’ll either lose or win a tight battle. Either way, he’s young enough to improve and try again later.
At UFC Fight Night 112, Joachim Christensen and Dominick Reyes will duel on the main card. Which man will have his hand raised?
Source:: mma mania