Glover Teixeira became the light-heavyweight champion of the world at 42 by chocking Jan Blachowicz in the 2nd round. He will make his debut title defense against the dangerous Jiri Prochazka, who has an unbelievable streak of 10 knockout wins in a row.
UFC 275 Main Event Preview: Teixeira vs Prochazka
Glover Teixeira Preview
Glover is a 42-year-old fighter from Brazil. He has been with the UFC since 2012. The first time Teixeira fought for the title was in 2014. Then he lost to Jon Jones by unanimous decision and fell out of the title race for 5 years.
In 2019, Glover started a 6-win streak that has continued to this day. In 2020, a Candidates fight took place between Teixeira and Thiago Santos. Glover was knocked down several times, but eventually endured and strangled his opponent in the 3rd round.
Teixeira's last fight was in October 2021. It was a title fight against champion Jan Blachowicz. Glover declassed the Pole and choked him in the 2nd round, becoming the new title holder.
Glover is a true all-rounder. Being on his feet, he tries to catch the opponent with inventive and thoughtful combinations. His boxing, coupled with his knockout power and impressive fighting IQ, is a danger to most light heavyweights. On the ground, the fighter relies on BJJ skills. He has good control and a devastating ground and pound. The Brazilian also has a lot of dangerous painful techniques in his arsenal.
But the fact that Glover is an aging veteran is still striking. After 40 professional fights, Teixeira is no longer absorbing a punch as well as before. For example, Thiago Santos knocked him down 3 times.
Jiri Prochazka Preview
Jiri is a 29-year-old fighter from the Czech Republic. He came to the UFC as an experienced athlete. Most of Prochazka's fights were in Japan for the RIZIN promotion, where he became the champion in 2019.
His debut in the strongest league in the world took place in July 2020 in a duel against Volkan Ozdemir, whom he defeated by knockout in the 2nd round. Jiri's last fight was in May 2021. He knocked out Dominick Reyes in the 2nd round.
Jiri prefers to work in a standing position. He relies on physical strength and aggressive pressing. Thanks to these aspects, 24 out of 27 victories he won by KO/TKO. Prochazka has good timing and fast and accurate shots. We should also note that he is one of the current-best cardio fighters in the UFC although we have not seen much of him yet. He can work without slowing down for 25 minutes of a fight. In RIZIN, there are 10-minute rounds, which Jiri confidently passed.
The main disadvantage of Prochazka is the love of exchanges. He forgets about defense and selflessly flies into exchanges without covering his jaw. In a fight against a serious puncher, this can end up with Jiri being kept at a distance and shot from afar.
Teixeira vs Prochazka Prediction
I do not rule out Prochazka's victory. But his only chance is to knock out the champion. Why is it tight? If Jiri climbs to finish off Teixeira on the ground, he will get bogged down there, and after a while, Glover will be in a good position and will attempt a painful submission. And Teixeira's submissions are very dangerous. If he goes behind his back, then with an 80% probability, he will successfully conduct an RNC.
At the same time, Glover is also dangerous on his feet. He doesn't absorb a lot of hits and his opponents rarely have huge numbers of significant strikes at the end. At the same time, he attacks well. Clever work with boxing combinations may help him bring down the attacking fuse of Prochazka. Given the huge holes in Jiri's defense, I wouldn't be surprised if Teixeira knocked him down at the very least before he transfers the match to the ground.
Of course, Prochazka is significantly younger and might be a serious challenge for Teixeira when it comes to cardio and speed. However, Prochazka only has two fights in the UFC and while he was a champion at Rizin, we believe that his level is not yet world-class.
Based on this, I believe that Prochazka has a 40% chance of winning. Physical strength, non-standard technique, and luck can help the Czech become the new champion of the promotion. But in my opinion, Teixeira is more versatile and, most importantly, a smarter fighter. He can impose his own terms of the fight and end up knocking out or choking out the young contender with just2 fights in the UFC.
With all this said, Teixeira is a massive underdog, just like he was in the previous fight when he destroyed the long-lasting champion of the division. Therefore, I think the coefficient for Teixeira should be around 1.70-1.80, but definitely not 2.65.