Jiri Prochazka’s injury has led to changes in the main event for UFC 282 PPV.
Jiri Prochazka vs Glover Teixeira 2 bout was initially announced to headline UFC 282 with Light Heavyweight title on the line. UFC announced on Wednesday(tweet below) that Jiri Prochazka has suffered a shoulder injury which will require a significant rehabilitation period. Therefore, Prochazka has decided to vacate UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Additionally, UFC’s press release stated that Glover Jan Blachowicz vs Magomed Ankalaev will be the new main event with the vacant Light Heavyweight title on the line. The fight was initially the co-main event of the card while Jan Blachowicz was considered the backup fighter for the title bout.
Jiri Prochazka Issues Statement
Later in the day, Jiri Prochazka issued a statement via Twitter and expressed his disappointment in not being able to defend the title at UFC 282. He revealed that he injured his shoulder in training in Las Vegas while preparing for the title bout.
Surgery is required which will put Prochazka out of action for 6 months at least. Therefore, he had decided to vacate the Light Heavyweight title and will fight for it once again when he returns to action after getting fit. The statement also included an apology for all of his fans and his opponent Glover Teixeira.
Prochazka defeated Glover Teixeira at UFC 275 via submission in the fifth round in a bout which is “Fight of the Year” contender. Prochazka is currently on a 13-fights winning streak which has led to him getting a title bout in just his third UFC bout.
Glover Teixeira Needed Time
The press release from UFC raised the question why Glover Teixeira is suddenly out of the title fight. The reason got cleared up later through a report from ESPN. Brett Okamoto has a statement from Teixeira where he revealed that UFC tried to book Glover Teixeira vs Magomed Ankalaev for the vacant title.
However, 43 years old Teixeira refused to take the bout saying a change in opponent this late is a very drastic change for him. He offered to fight Ankalaev at UFC 283 card in Brazil or have a rematch with Blachowicz at UFC 282 itself. But, UFC then went on to book Blachowicz vs Magomed for the Light Heavyweight Championship.
Teixeira won the title originally by beating Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 in October 2021 via submission in the second round. That might be the reason that UFC went skipped the backup fighter Blachowicz and offered a fight against Ankalaev to Teixeira. At this time, there are no guarantees for Teixeira to face the new champion after 282.
Ankalaev Gets First Title Shot, Blachowicz Gets a Chance at Redemption
While UFC was scrambling for a new main event for UFC 282, both main event fighters had very little idea of what was going on. Ariel Helwani reported that Jan Blachowicz was on a plane on his way to Las Vegas and did not have any connectivity. He got to know about his title shot when he landed in Las Vegas in the evening.
Blachowicz, #2 ranked Light Heavyweight in UFC Rankings, has 6 wins in 7 fights. The fights include defeating Dominik Reyes for the vacant title and becoming the first fighter to defeat Israel Adesanya in MMA in his first title defense. However, everyone was shocked when he lost the title to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267. He has a win over Aleksandr Rakic since that loss.
Magomed Ankalaev is on a 9-fights winning streak in UFC since losing his debut bout in the promotion. His recent victims include the likes of Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, Volkan Oezdemir, and Nikita Krylov.
Who will emerge as the new champion at UFC 282?