Jiri Prochazka relinquishes UFC title; Surprising vacant title fight set

Jiri Prochazka is no longer a UFC light heavyweight champion, and neither will the man expected to fight for the title.

The UFC 282 main event between Prochazka (29-3-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and former champion Glover Teixiera (33-8 MMA, 16-6 UFC) has been canceled. Prochazka suffered a “serious” shoulder injury and has lost his title, Yahoo Sports! reported for the first time on Wednesday.

With Prochazka out, the promotion has Magomed Ankalaev (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) vs. Jan Blachowicz (29-9 MMA, 12-6 UFC) elevated to the UFC 282 main event for the 205-pound championship.

“UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka has sustained a shoulder injury that will require a significant rehabilitation period,” the UFC said in a statement. “Out of respect for the athletes and the division, Prochazka has chosen to relinquish his title and will compete for the title once he is medically cleared.”

UFC President Dana White later shed light on the severity of Prochazka’s injured right shoulder.

“This is the worst shoulder injury the doctors have seen in UFC history,” White told Yahoo Sports!. “It’s really f*cking bad. His shoulder is very bad. He will undergo major surgery requiring extensive rehabilitation.”

Yahoo! Sports initially reported that Teixeira “turned down the title fight”. A person with knowledge of the situation later told MMA Junkie that the UFC offered Teixeira to fight Ankalaev for the title at UFC 282, but Teixeira declined because he felt he needed more time to prepare for a new opponent. Teixeira asked to fight Ankalaev at UFC 283 in Brazil in January, but the UFC said no. Teixeira also asked to fight Blachowicz, whom he defeated for the title in October 2021, instead of Ankalaev at UFC 282, but the UFC said no.

UFC 282 takes place December 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with the main card on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+.

Prochazka and Teixeira would rematch after a wild UFC 275 headliner that many viewers considered a “Fight of the Year” contender. To cap off a back-and-forth affair, Prochakza dispatched Teixeira in the final minutes of the fight to win the title.

After the conclusion, both Prochazka and Teixeira argued for a rematch. The UFC agreed and placed Ankalaev vs. Blachowicz as a likely title eliminator on the same card.

Blachowicz has won six of his most recent seven appearances, the only loss being a championship defeat to Teixeira. Meanwhile, Ankalaev has won nine in a row.

With the change, the UFC 282 lineup includes:

  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev – for vacant light heavyweight title
  • Robbie Lawler v Santiago Ponzinibbio
  • Jared Gordon vs. Paddy Pimblett
  • Bryce Mitchell vs Ilia Topuria
  • Philippe Lins vs. Ovince St Preux
  • Dalcha Lungiambula v Edmen Shahbazyan
  • Dricus Du Plessis vs. Darren Tot
  • Chris Daukaus vs. Jairzinho Rozenbush
  • Alexander Hernandez v Billy Quarantillo
  • TJ Brown vs. Eric Silva
  • Joaquin Buckley vs. Chris Curtis
  • Ronnie Lawrence vs. Cameron Saiman
  • Daniel da Silva vs. Vinicius Salvador

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