Dominick Reyes gave an indication on Saturday night just how high he can climb in the UFC light heavyweight division.
The Victorville, Calif. native improved to 10-0 on his career with his biggest win to date on the main card of UFC 229, earning a unanimous decision that briefly appeared to be a knockout over veteran Ovince Saint Preux on the main card of UFC 229.
The judges’ scores at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for 30-27 across the board in favor of Reyes.
Reyes, who had gone the distance just once in his first nine professional fights and won each of his first three UFC bouts via first-round finish, threw everything but the kitchen sink at Saint Preux in the opening round. Reyes landed over and over with big, heavy hands, and often seemed a punch or two away from ending things. Reyes outstruck OSP 62-6 over the course of the round.
But Reyes, who had only once gone the distance in his previous nine pro bouts and won each of his first three UFC fights via first-round stoppage, appeared to have an adrenaline dump from there. Saint Preux was game in staying in the fight as the pace slowed, but could never quite get back into it.
Reyes was well on his way to the decision, but appeared to end it in the final seconds, dropping Saint Preux with a big right a second or two before the end of the bout. Reyes walked away as if he had won, but referee Dan Miragliotta did not wave the bout off. The horn sounded before any further actions were taken.
Regardless, it was a statement fight, and the birth of a new contender in a division which badly needs one.
“It wasn’t easy, Reyes said. “All respect to Ovince, but I worked hard prepared my ass off and came here to get the job done.”
Reyes improved to 10-0, 4-0 in the UFC, while Saint Preux (23-12) has now dropped two of his past three fights.