After winning his first six UFC fights, Dominick Reyes has lost his last two, falling to Jon Jones via decision and then to Jan Blachowicz via TKO in a light heavyweight title bout.
MMA handicapper Lou Finocchiaro is banking on Reyes to get back in the win column against Jiri Prochazka on Saturday in the main event of UFC on ESPN 23 at the Apex.
Reyes is a +107 underdog to Prochazka (-127) at Circa sportsbook.
“Reyes got a little bit unfocused before the Blachowicz fight. He was thinking too much about the Jon Jones fight and reading his headlines a little bit and came out and fought arguably the worst fight of his career,” said Finocchiaro (@GambLou). “Prochazka has only had one UFC fight. He knocked out a fighter in the top 10 and he looked devastating. He’s big, strong and aggressive and has unbelievable explosion and power.
“But I believe the recency pro for Prochazka and the con for how poorly Reyes looked in his last fight has this line a little skewed. I believe Reyes should be a small favorite, not Prochazka.”
Here are Finocchiaro’s other best bets:
In the co-main event, Finocchiaro is backing Cub Swanson over Giga Chikadze in a featherweight fight.
“There’s a little bit of recency involved in the pricing of this fight,” he said. “Chikadze has won his last five UFC fights, but his level of competition has been less than spectacular.
“Swanson’s giving away some physical characteristics — Chikadze is five years younger, four inches taller and has reach advantages — but he’s been in with much better competition at 145.”
In Swanson’s first fight since suffering a torn ACL, he delivered a devastating knockout of Daniel Pineda in December at UFC 256.
“This is his sophomore fight after his ACL, and I think he’s poised to really perform well here,” Finocchiaro said. “At +155, he’s a live ‘dog.”
In a light heavyweight bout on the main card, Finocchiaro is siding with Dustin Jacoby over Ion Cutelaba.
“Cutelaba is an absolute maniacal fighter. He’s hugely aggressive and highly powerful, but he’s wild and lacks defense and can tire if his fights go later,” he said. “Jacoby is the taller and longer man and is the more refined, precise striker.
“There was an incident at faceoffs (Friday) where Cutelaba reached out and grabbed him. I think that’s a tell. Cutelaba only has aggression. I think Jacoby is the more complete fighter and he proves it (Saturday) night.”