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The Ultimate Fighting Championship chose the two most obvious candidates to fill the Grand Canyon-sized void left by Jon Jones’ departure from the 205-pound weight class.
Dominick Reyes will lock horns with Jan Blachowicz to decide the fate of the vacant light heavyweight title in the UFC 253 co-main event on Saturday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Spawned by the Cage Combat Academy, Reyes finds himself on the rebound for the first time after failing in his bid to unseat Jones at UFC 247 in February. Meanwhile, Blachowicz enters the cage on the strength of a three-fight winning streak punctuated by his first-round knockout of Corey Anderson at UFC Fight Night 167 on Feb. 15.
As Reyes and Blachowicz make final preparations for their five-round title fight, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
30: Years of age for Reyes, who was born on Dec. 26, 1989 in Hesperia, California.
9: First-round finishes on the Reyes resume, accounting for three-fourths of his professional victories (12). They include a 29-second technical knockout of Joachim Christensen in his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night 112 a little more than three years ago.
27: Seconds needed for Reyes to dispose of Marcus Govan with a head kick at a Hoosier Fight Club show in February 2017. Though he has three other sub-minute stoppage victories to his credit, it remains the fastest finish of his 13-fight career.
4.88: Strikes landed per minute by Reyes as a member of the UFC roster. The figure currently ranks eighth in the history of the 205-pound weight class.
116: Significant strikes landed by Reyes against the aforementioned Jones. Only one other fighter has landed as many as 100 significant strikes against Jones: Alexander Gustafsson, who connected with 110 of them at UFC 165.
37: Years of age for Blachowicz, who was born on Feb. 24, 1983 in Cieszyn, Poland.
9: Blachowicz wins by submission, accounting for 35 percent of his career total (26). His methods of choice: five rear-naked chokes, three armbars and one arm-triangle choke.
5: Post-fight bonuses awarded to Blachowicz in his 14 appearances under the UFC banner. The former KSW champion has taken “Performance of the Night” honors four times and “Fight of the Night” honors once, resulting in $250,000 of additional income.
52: Percent of attempted takedowns completed by Blachowicz, good for second on the UFC’s all-time list for heavyweights. Only Lyoto Machida (65 percent) succeeded at a higher rate.
10: Countries in which Blachowicz has competed as a professional mixed martial artist. He has gone 17-4 in Poland, 2-2 in the United States, 2-0 in Russia, 1-0 in Brazil, 1-0 in England, 1-0 in Canada, 1-0 in Croatia, 1-0 in Sweden, 0-1 in Germany and 0-1 in the Czech Republic.