UFC on ESPN 6: Chris Weidman Moves Up in Weight to Face Undefeated Reyes

Posted on: October 18, 2019, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: October 17, 2019, 06:02h.

Dominick Reyes will be favored to keep his undefeated record intact on Friday. But he’ll face a difficult challenge in the form of former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on ESPN 6 in Boston.

UFC on ESPN 6 Weidman Reyes
Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman will make his light heavyweight debut Friday vs. the undefeated Dominick Reyes at UFC on ESPN 6. (Image: Steve Marcus/Getty)

Reyes is rated as a -175 favorite over Weidman (+135) heading into their clash at the TD Garden.

Reyes, Weidman See Potential Title Shot

Both Reyes and Weidman easily made weight on Thursday, and, in fact, only two fighters on the entire 13-fight card came in over their limits, and neither by enough to force any cancellations.

Weidman (14-4) comes into the main event with the longer resume. He won the UFC middleweight title by beating Anderson Silva in 2013, and held it until he suffered his first career loss to Luke Rockhold in December 2015. That started a downward trend for the former champion, as he has now lost four of his past five fights, with all four losses coming by knockout.

That prompted the move up to light heavyweight, where Weidman is hoping he might be able to enjoy a late-career resurgence. The 35-year-old believes that a win over Reyes will put him in position to challenge Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title, though a loss could easily lead to questions over his future in the sport.

Meanwhile, Reyes (11-0) is not far off from a title shot himself. His record speaks for itself, and a win over Weidman could be the signature victory that puts him on the radar for the UFC as the next opponent for Jones.

“I have the ranking. I have the skills – he has the name. That’s what he’s bringing to the table,” Reyes told MMA Fighting. “So with this fight, what I gain is I beat a big name, a worldwide name, and I’m more marketable. It’s name vs. record at this point.”

Rodriguez and Stephens Ready to Try Again

In the co-main event, Yair Rodriguez will take on Jeremy Stephens just four weeks after their last fight. That bout ended in just 15 seconds in a no-contest after Rodriguez accidentally poked Stephens in the eye, leaving Stephens unable to continue. But there was no permanent damage, and so the UFC was able to rebook the fight for Friday night.

To say the rhetoric between the two fighters has been heated would be a massive understatement, especially from Stephens.

I’m gonna kill this kid,” Stephens told reporters after open workouts earlier this week. “If he don’t die, it don’t count. That’s what I’m thinking. It’s always personal.”

Just like the first time around, bookmakers are expecting a banger in the co-main event, with Rodriguez and Stephens both fetching identical -112 odds heading into the bout.

Also notable on the UFC on ESPN 6 card is a main card heavyweight matchup between former NFL player Greg Hardy (-305) and Ben Sosoli (+230). Hardy is once again being fed an opponent that UFC brass think he can beat, but Sosoli can stand and hit as well, meaning that while this is likely to be a short fight, there’s certainly potential for an upset.