UFC 295: Prochazka vs. Pereira Main Event Preview
UFC 295: PROCHAZKA VS. PEREIRA MAIN EVENT PREVIEW – Light heavyweight was once a golden division in the UFC ten years ago, however the title has been bouncing around a lot since Jon Jones vacated the title in 2020. Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixiera were the next champions until Jiri Prochazka snatched it from Teixeira. Unfortunately, a significant injury forced Prochazka to vacate the title, laying way for Blachowicz and Ankalaev to fight for the title.
That fight ended up being a draw, which provided Teixeira a chance to fight for the title once again, but he came up short against Jamahal Hill. A few months later, misfortune struck the 205lb champion again as Hill suffered a serious injury that resulted in him vacating the title as well.
All of those shenanigans have now set the stage this weekend for the original champion to pick up where he left off.
Jiri Prochazka looks to reclaim the title he was forced to vacate last year.
Alex Pereira wants to enter his name in the history books by being the quickest to win titles in two different divisions.
Will Prochazka successfully achieve gold again? Or will Poatan showcase his striking dominance and add another belt to his mantle? Read on to see how these two light heavyweight power houses match up and which side can produce some extra coin for our bankrolls.
It didn’t take long for the legend of Prochazka in Japan to translate to the UFC fans as he knocked out former title challengers Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes in his first two fights with the promotion. That set him up for a title shot against Glover Teixeira that saw him capture the gold in his third UFC fight. It is now 13-straight victories for the Czech fighter who has struck fear into the division given the violence in which he brings to the table.
Many overlooked Prochazka’s game due to the recklessness with which he fights, believing more technical strikers could take advantage of him and make him pay with counters. He has left two better “technical” strikers in the dust by finishing them both in emphatic fashion. The Dominick Reyes finish still gets me out of my seat at the thought of it and that knockout caused Reyes to sit on the sidelines for an extended period.
Everything Prochazka throws is with heat and vicious intentions. From his jumping and spinning techniques to his unorthodox striking style, it’s been difficult for opponents to get a bead on him. I think the most important ingredient in Prochazka’s spice rack is his heart and willingness to die in the cage.
He very much encapsulates a warrior’s spirit in his fights, digging deeper when things get tough, and being able to gut out the victory.
The evolution of Pereira has been a treat to watch. Many believe his sole purpose for returning to MMA action was to overthrow Adesanya’s reign as middleweight champion. He was successful in doing so after winning his first three fights with the promotion, setting him up for a shot at his long-time foe from the kickboxing world.
It was a last-round triumph for him that night as he spoiled Adesanya’s redemption story. Unfortunately, the rematch a few months later did not go Pereira’s way, which paved the way for him to move up to 205lbs. This is the division he should have been at the entire time.
Many have talked about the difficulties he had making 185lbs, but that was his destiny considering the storyline he had with Adesanya. He made good on his first fight up a weight class, which now gives him the opportunity to win his second title in only seven fights with the promotion.
His style is straightforward: utilize kicks to soften up his opponent, then let the lead left hook go at opportune moments to crack and put his opponent away. His ground game is improving, especially his takedown defense, which leaves his opponents no choice but to strike with him.
I believe he learned a lot from the Adesanya fight, in terms of not getting too wild, so he doesn’t get clipped in return. It’s tough to go blow for blow with him, knowing he will likely win the damage battle in any fight. We saw him pull out a decision victory over Blachowicz in a fight where we saw him nullify the grappling control of Blachowicz in a round where Pereira got controlled for nearly two minutes.
First off, the fans are the big winners in this fight. It would be tough to draw up a more intriguing and entertaining fight for the light heavyweight title than these two monsters who just so happen to love to strike. I would be stunned if we saw either fighter shoot for a takedown, which means this comes down to the technical savvy of Pereira or the unorthodox explosiveness of Prochazka.
It’s tough to make a compelling case for taking a technical striker against Prochazka, as he has decimated the two that were already given to him. However, I believe Pereira is much better than both Oezdemir and Reyes. I feel Pereira can also make use of his coach’s experience fighting Prochazka last year, as Glover Teixeira is the head coach for Pereira.
It is nearly a dead even fight on the odds, as I expect the fight to be, but look for a nasty counter from Pereira to change the tide of the fight.