Jiri Prochazka is now a former UFC champion after a shoulder injury forced him out of the main event of UFC 282.
Prochazka’s planned light heavyweight title rematch with former champion Glover Teixeira is now off the card, with the UFC booking a completely new matchup for the newly-vacated title, with Russia’s Magomed Ankalaev set to face former champion Jan Blachowicz for the undisputed crown.
The news was confirmed by the UFC following an initial report from Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, with the promotion’s statement reading as follows:
UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka has suffered a shoulder injury that will require a significant rehabilitation period.
Out of respect to the athletes and the division, Prochazka has elected to vacate his title and will compete for the belt as soon as he is medically cleared.
As a result, the new UFC 282 main event will see former champion and No. 2 ranked Jan Blachowicz take on surging No. 3 ranked Magomed Ankalaev for the vacant, undisputed UFC light heavyweight championship.
A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with legendary knockout power, Blachowicz has finished four of his last six wins in emphatic fashion and looks to recapture his lost crown with another signature victory.
Ankalaev is currently riding the second-longest win streak in UFC light heavyweight history with nine victories, including five via finish, and plans to extend his streak by claiming his first UFC title.
Prochazka released a statement of his own via his Instagram page, apologizing to Teixeira for his injury and enforced withdrawal from the bout.
“I am very disappointed to announce that I will not be defending my belt at UFC 282,” he began.
“I was injured in training in Las Vegas while finishing my preparation for my title defense in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. I injured my shoulder and surgery is required which will put me out of action for at least six months.
“Knowing this information, I have decided, after consulting with UFC management, that due to this time constraint, I will not hold (up the) light heavyweight division and will vacate the title. I will go for the UFC belt as soon as the doctors give me the green light to fight. I’m going to go for the belt and I’m going to get it no matter who currently holds it.
“It’s always been the most important thing for me to put on the best performance and compare myself to the best. Let the best show no matter who’s there now. I’ll be back in six months and I’ll take the title, whoever holds it.
“I apologize to my fans, friends, family who bought tickets and made plans to come to Las Vegas to support me, it means a lot to me. I also want to apologize to Glover. Victory!”
UFC 282: Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev takes place Saturday, December 10 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.