When Glover Teixeira defeated Jan Blachowicz in October of last year, he became the oldest first time champion in the UFC’s history. Now, at age 42, he prepares to defend his title for the first time. In order to do so, he’ll have to overcome Jiří Procházka, who is just 29-years-old and may very well be the best prospect the division has seen since a young Jon Jones. This is a case of an aging legend going up against a rising star. You won’t want to miss this bout, scheduled to be the main event of the evening at UFC 275; it has all the makings of an instant classic. There’s a lot to unpack here. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Teixeira vs. Procházka
From August of 2016 through July of 2018, Glover Teixeira fought five times. That is a respectable level of activity for a light heavyweight, especially since Teixeira had already established himself as a mixed martial arts legend. Unfortunately, he did not experience great results inside the octagon during this time period. He lost three out of five fights and the narrative surrounding him began to change. No longer was he considered a challenger for the top spot in the division; instead he became a respected veteran of the sport who had a lot of wisdom to offer young fighters and would soon be making his retirement announcement.
Then, suddenly, his fortunes began to change. It started with a first round submission victory over Karl Roberson in January of 2019. Ultimately, he reeled off five consecutive victories between 2019 and 2020. This led to his showdown with reigning champion, Jan Blachowicz in October of 2021. To the surprise of everyone in the arena, Teixeira was able to emerge victorious, utilizing a rear naked chokehold to force Blachowicz into submission in the second round. It was one of the greatest moments in UFC history. Now, the 42-year-old champion will face the biggest challenge of his career: Jiří Procházka.
Jiří Procházka became a professional mixed martial artist at the age of 19. Ten years later, he finds himself one fight away from being crowned the light heavyweight champion in the world’s most renowned mixed martial arts organization. Over the course of his career, he has lost only three times. Most of his wins have come by way of knockout and opponents know he is as dangerous while grappling as he is while striking. His catchphrase of BJP has become quite popular in Eastern Europe, with the English translation being “Bomb-’em-up!” On June 11th, fight fans will find out if Procházka indeed has what it takes to finally be crowned a champion.Embed from Getty Images
Shevchenko vs. Santos
Reigning women’s flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko is on an eight fight win streak, dating back to February of 2018. Her last loss coincided with her final appearance at Bantamweight; since moving up to flyweight she has become absolutely unstoppable. Her next opponent, Taila Santos has been equally impressive as of late, compiling a four fight win streak of her own. This is a matchup of contrasting styles; Shevchenko is known as an elite striker who knocks many of her opponents out, while Santos is known as an elite grappler who can force her opponents to tap out early. This will be a highly competitive match between two very determined women. Make sure to tune in!
Zhang vs. Jędrzejczyk
When Welli Zhang fought Joanna Jędrzejczyk in March of 2020, Zhang was the reigning Women’s Strawweight champion. That night, Zhang successfully defended her belt and walked out of the octagon as the queen of the division. However, Zhang has since lost two consecutive bouts against Rose Namajunas and is no longer the champion. Now, each of these women are highly ranked contenders desperately looking for another shot at becoming the champion of the division. Fight fans won’t want to miss this epic duel; each of these athletes will be sure to give it their all once they climb inside the octagon, knowing that another shot at destiny is potentially on the line!
Fialho vs. Matthews
Welterweight prospect André Fialho has been very active in 2022. He’s already made three octagon appearances this year, winning twice and losing once. His next bout, against Jake Matthews, comes just one month after he defeated Cameron VanCamp with a first round knockout at UFC 274. Matthews, on the other hand, hasn’t been seen inside the octagon since March of last year. He was previously scheduled to fight in December, but his opponent backed out the day of the fight, citing a training camp injury. Now, after a layoff that has lasted more than a year, Matthews is out to prove he is still one of the top prospects in the welterweight division.
Maddelena vs. Emeev
Rising welterweight prospect Jack Della Maddelena made his UFC debut at UFC 270 against Pete Rodriguez. After looking impressive in a first round knockout victory, Maddelena returns to see if he can bring his streak in the organization up to two consecutive victories. Ramazan Emeev is a veteran of the sport whose been a professional since 2009. Hailing from Russia, Emeev began his career in Eastern Europe and became the M-1 Global middleweight champion before making his way to the UFC. While he is not the fighter he once was, he is still a crafty veteran who can pose a great test for a rising fighter like Maddelena.
How to watch
UFC 275 can be viewed on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis, available right here at World in Sport!