Prochazka wins light heavyweight title from Teixeira at UFC 275
SINGAPORE (AP) — Jiri Prochazka stopped Glover Teixeira by submission with 28 seconds left in the fifth round to claim the UFC light heavyweight title in a grueling fight at UFC 275 on Sunday.
Prochazka has survived nearly five rounds of consistent punishment from 42-year-old Teixeira, who became a first UFC champion at 205 pounds late last year. After a back-and-forth that left both men cut and bleeding, the Czech challenger moved into position to execute a choke that ended one of the most compelling title fights in history. recent from the UFC.
Valentina Shevchenko retained her flyweight title with a narrow split decision win over Taila Santos at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but the Brazilian challenger has likely tested the defending champion more than any other opponent during her seven-game defense streak.
Earlier, former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk announced her retirement after losing her rematch with Zhang Weili, who knocked out the Polish veteran in the second round with a back fist.
The first UFC Southeast Asia pay-per-view card took place in the morning in Singapore to reach the lucrative American audience on Saturday night, but fighters ditched the early start to produce a highly entertaining fight slate.
The main event was a thriller that only got better as Prochazka managed to overcome many strategic mistakes with tenacity and skill. Prochazka became the UFC’s 15th undisputed champion of what has long been the glamorous mixed martial arts division, along with former champions like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell and Jon Jones.
Teixeira (33-8) led 39-37 on two scorecards heading into the fourth round, meaning the Brazilian champion almost certainly would have won a decision had he avoided a submission in the final minute.
‘Did I watch 42 there? » Teixeira asked afterwards. ‘No? So I will continue. »
Both fighters landed big punches in the first round, and Teixeira seemed to turn the fight in his favor when he hurt Prochazka in the second round, eventually landing an elbow that opened up a big cut above his eye. left of Prochazka. Both fighters were bleeding cuts in the third round, and Prochazka also wobbled Teixeira mid-round before his dramatic end.
Moments earlier, Shevchenko (23-3) was tested in the first round by Santos, who won four straight fights to claim his first UFC title. The closest round was the second, and Shevchenko came on strong in the final two rounds after escaping a Santos (19-2) choke that could have ended the fight in the third.
« I left my heart there, » Shevchenko said. « I have a real championship spirit, and I’m never satisfied with my performance. »
Two judges favored Shevchenko 48-47 and 49-46, while the third scored 48-47 for Santos, whose right eye was closed by the final bell after an accidental clash of heads in the third. Shevchenko’s seven consecutive title defenses are the most of any active champion.
« Unfortunately, I couldn’t really see out of my right eye after it closed, » Santos said. ‘I saw two Valentinas. I just tried to hit in the middle. »
Shevchenko, the UFC 125-pound champion since 2018, hasn’t lost to any opponent since 2010 other than Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko barely managed to avoid the fate of Nunes, whose long reign atop the bantamweight division ended last December.
Zhang (22-3) outplayed Jedrzejczyk in a rematch of the ex-champions’ highly entertaining first meeting in March 2020, when Zhang won by split decision in a fight that Jedrzejczyk insisted she had won. The Chinese veteran went without a doubt the second time around, finishing the fight with the spectacular spinning strike that finished it.
Afterwards, Jedrzejczyk (16-5) cited her desire for motherhood and training fatigue as reasons for hanging up her gloves. She held the strawweight title from 2015 to 2017, making a record five strap defenses before losing it to Rose Namajunas and later losing to Shevchenko in a flyweight title shot.
« It’s been 20 years, » Jedrzejczyk said. « I’m 35 this year. I want to be a mom. I want to be a businesswoman. I trained more than half my life. I love you. »
Zhang is likely to get the next shot against strawweight champion Carla Esparza.