And new. For the first time in many years, the light-heavyweight division has a new champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier. Jan Blachowicz upset the odds to crush Dominick Reyes in a brilliant victory in Abu Dhabi. The Polish powerhouse dominated his American opponent from start to finish at UFC 253.

Reyes was a strong favorite coming into this one after pushing Jon Jones close in his last fight. In fact, many viewers believed that the former college footballer did enough to beat the greatest 205 lber ever. As a result, they expected him to have too much for Blachowicz to handle.

However, Blachowicz had other ideas. The former KSW champion was calm all week and looked more composed throughout this fight. He put on the performance of a lifetime to beat Reyes by TKO and claim the title. It was a magnificent victory and one that will sit well with UFC fans.


At the age of 37, Blachowicz has seen the highs and lows of MMA. He looked much calmer than Reyes in the octagon and used his kicks to great effect in the first round. Firstly, he targeted his opponent’s legs. Then, when he saw the opportunity he blazed forward with his hands and finished with a left kick to Reyes’s body. Soon the American’s right side turned a very nasty shade of purple.

This combination was money in the bank for Blachowicz because it also opened up the overhand right for him too. He looked excellent in the first round as Reyes was unable to put together any consistent offense. The Polish fighter kept the fight at his pace the whole way through. However, Reyes did land one sharp right hand to remind Blachowicz not to get complacent.

Brutal Finish

Reyes knew that he had to step it up in the second and take the fight to Blachowicz. He came forward more aggressively but this was also problematic. Blachowicz is a counter-fighter and wanted him to do this. Soon, the Polish fighter broke Reyes’s nose and sat him down with brutal short left.

Then he landed a few more shots to his stricken foe to seal the deal. The referee intervened to stop the fight and Blachowicz got his hands on the belt. One of the nice guys in MMA, he is also the second champion from Poland after Joanna Jedrzejczyk. He also expects to become a father in the coming months so congrats to the new champ.

Bigger Picture

However, one man’s name overshadowed this fight. Jon Jones is no longer a light-heavyweight fighter but made his presence felt on social media. Blachowicz even called out the former champion after his win to the disdain of Chael Sonnen. Sonnen believed that this was a waste of a callout, however, realistically it will get people talking.

While Jones is unlikely to fight for his old title in the near future, it’s worth noting that he has never fought Blachowicz. If he beats Stipe Miocic could he come back and fight for his old title in a bid to become a two-weight champion?

Meanwhile, Blachowicz is most likely to fight the winner of Glover Teixeira v Thiago Santos next. Santos was the last fighter to beat the new champion so there is a storyline there. It will take some time for fans to accept Blachowicz as the legitimate champion with Jones still active, but he is endearing enough to earn their goodwill.

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