At first glance, the two combatants lined up to fight in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Boston appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. At 11-0, Dominick Reyes is considered to be a rising star in the light heavyweight division. He will be fighting in his first main event on Oct. 18 at TD Garden.
“This is definitely the biggest fight of my career, hands down,” said Reyes, 29.
His opponent, Chris Weidman knows all about fighting in the main event. He won his first 13 fights, and knocked previously undefeated Anderson Silva off the middleweight throne in July of 2013, then defeated Silva again in the rematch five months later.
But Weidman has dropped four of his last five bouts, and at 35, the native of Mineola, N.Y. is making the move up from middleweight, which is capped at 185 pounds, to light heavyweight, which goes up to 205 pounds.
“After I lost my last fight [to Jacare Souza), I felt like the weight-cut was becoming a problem for me, where I was depleting myself in camp. I was getting injured a lot.” said Weidman. “I felt like it was a good time to move up. I may not be the biggest 205-pounder, but I feel like I have enough size and attributes where I could be right in there with those guys.”
Both fighters believe this could be a stepping stone to landing a shot at Jon Jones and the light heavyweight championship. Reyes, who hails from Victorville, Calif., hopes to make a statement victory.
“Fighting championship level guys, that’s when you show who you are, when you have guys that have been there and they have that experience, and they know how to react to those five rounds and how they carry themselves,” said Reyes. “So this will be a good test of my composure.
“I want to finish him. That’s my goal.”
Weidman is drawing on his previous experience, specifically his last victory, when he defeated Kelvin Gastelum.
“He was undefeated at middleweight. A lot of people were behind him,” said Weidman. “Then they put him against me, and I ended up dominating him, finished him in the third round.
“He hasn’t fought anybody like me. He hasn’t fought a wrestler, a guy who brings pressure, a guy who can hit like I do. I think it’s too soon for him.”
Methuen’s Calvin Kattar (20-3) is also in one of the featured fights, taking on Zabit Magomedsharipov (17-1, fighting out of Dagestan, Russia). Kattar is looking for his third straight win, while Magomedsharipov will attempt to run his win streak to 14 in a row and continue to climb up the featherweight rankings.
Other local fighters on the card include Taunton’s Randy Costa (4-1) facing Boston Salmon (6-2) of Las Vegas in a bantamweight bout, and Eric Spicely (12-6, of Olneyville, R.I.), who will face Dana White’s Contender Series signee Brendan Allen (11-3, fighting out of Milwaukee).
In a battle of flyweights, No. 12 ranked contender Maycee Barber (5-0, of Greeley, Colo.) takes on No. 15 ranked Gillian Robertson (7-3, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Niagara Falls, Ont., Canada).
Middleweight Deron Winn (6-0, fighting out of Gilroy, Calif.) looks to remain remain perfect against London’s Darren Stewart (10-4, 1 NC).
Daniel Spitz (6-2, fighting out of Spokane, Wash.) welcomes newcomer Tanner Boser (16-5-1, fighting out of Edmonton, Alta., Canada) to the UFC heavyweight division.
Molly McCann (9-2, fighting out of Liverpool, England) squares off against Diana Belbita (13-4, fighting out of Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania).