UFC 253 news: Jan Blachowicz breaks Dominick Reyes' nose to lift light heavyweight title

p1ej7gik641jufe8n10531t9q1h3gb.jpg

For the first time in more than nine years, the UFC has a light heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier.

Poland's Jan Błachowicz, though, is not the man that most expected to take possession of the title at UFC 253. However, few will underestimate him again following the manner of his victory against Dominick Reyes on Saturday night.

The 37-year-old Błachowicz was a considerable betting underdog heading into his bout with Reyes for the vacant championship on Fight Island - and it was easy to understand why.

The 34-fight veteran had tasted defeat no less than eight times in his career and Reyes would have been deemed a step up in competition compared to some of those Błachowicz had lost to.

Reyes had been undefeated prior to his contentious points loss to former champion Jones at UFC 247 back in February. After Jones vacated the 205-pound championship in favour of a move to heavyweight, Reyes was widely tipped to lift the title that many felt should have been his earlier in the year.

Błachowicz had other ideas, though, and stamped his authority on the bout from the outset. Refusing to let Reyes settle, Błachowicz blasted his rival with kicks to the body, whilst mixing in punches to the head on occasion.

Whilst Reyes had his own small pockets of success in the first round, he was clearly showing the wounds of war by the end of the second - as a large welt had formed on his side from Błachowicz's repeated body kicks.

Far worse was to come for Reyes in the second round too. Following a fairly even start, Błachowicz really began to put some venom into his strikes towards the end of the round. In the midst of unleashing a vicious combination, Błachowicz landed a straight right hand that smeared Reyes' nose across his face.

All thoughts of championship glory soon evaporated for Reyes after he was caught with a stiff counter left hand. The blow caused his legs to betray him, leaving him doing the "chicken dance" until he inevitably fell to the mat.

Błachowicz needed no second invitation to attack, quickly wading in with heavy ground and pound, and leaving the referee with no choice but to stop the contest at 4:36 of round two.

It was, without doubt, the defining performance of Błachowicz's career and he wasted little time calling out former champion Jones following his victory.

At the current time, though, we have no concrete idea as to who Błachowicz could face next. One man that it will not be, however, is Dominick Reyes. Reyes was left so badly hurt by Błachowicz that he could not even stand for the post-fight decision - and was later revealed to have suffered a significant rib injury.

The Jan Błachowicz era has begun in the UFC light heavyweight division. It may have been an unexpected win, but it was - nonetheless - absolutely emphatic.

News Now - Sport News