The new headliner at UFC 295 features an explosive battle for the vacant 205-pound title, as former light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka returns to claim the title he never lost in the Octagon, but standing in his way is former middleweight champion and vicious knockout artist Alex Pereira.
The matchup offers a fascinating clash between two of the most dangerous men on the entire UFC roster, as Pereira pits his elite kickboxing arsenal against Prochazka’s uniquely unorthodox fighting style with the vacant undisputed light heavyweight title up for grabs.
Prochazka looked set to rule the 205-pound class after he defeated Glover Teixeira to capture the title at UFC 275, but a devastating shoulder injury forced Prochazka into surgery and a lengthy layoff as he relinquished the belt before he ever had the chance to defend it. Remarkably, the title has struggled to find a stable home ever since. A matchup between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev failed to produce a new champion, and even after Jamahal Hill claimed the vacant title with victory over Teixeira, a freak injury sustained during an International Fight Week basketball game forced Hill to follow in Prochazka’s footsteps by relinquishing the belt before his first title defense.
Now Prochazka is back, and will look to reclaim the crown at Madison Square Garden when he makes his return from a 17-month layoff to fight for the title once again. This time he’ll take on Alex Pereira, who sensationally knocked out Israel Adesanya to capture the middleweight title at UFC 281, only to suffer a knockout against “The Last Stylebender” in the rematch at UFC 287 in his first defense. Now “Poatan” has moved up to light heavyweight, where the big weight cut he endured at 185 pounds has been vastly reduced, and a split-decision victory over former champ Blachowicz showed that he’s ready to challenge for championship gold in a second weight class.
Ahead of the bout, the UFC’s Countdown cameras caught up with both fighters, and their teams, as they made their final preparations for their light heavyweight championship matchup. Check it out via the video player below.