No1-ranked light heavyweight Reyes (12-1) was the last man to challenge Jones (26-1, 1 no contest) for the strap, controversially losing via unanimous decision in February. That result marked the first defeat of Reyes’ professional career.
Meanwhile, Blachowicz (26-8) is on a three-fight win streak, with victories over former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, ‘Jacare’ Souza and Corey Anderson seeing him rise to No3 in the division. The wins over Rockhold and Anderson both came via KO in the early rounds.
With Jones planning a long-awaited move to heavyweight, American Reyes and Poland’s Blachowicz will meet in a five-round fight on the same night that middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya defends his belt against fellow undefeated fighter Paulo Costa.
It is not yet clear which of the two bouts will main event UFC 253. Normally the title fight in the heavier weight class would go on last, but Adesanya has been a breakout performer for the UFC over the last year-and-a-half, recently being revealed as co-cover star of EA Sports’ upcoming UFC 4 video game with Jorge Masvidal, and his contest with Costa has genuine heat behind it.
Those latter factors could see the middleweight title fight top the card.
Following the announcement of the light heavyweight contest, Blachowicz tweeted: “I’ve been waiting for this moment for whole my life.
“Huge shoutouts to my manager for getting it done!”
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