Jiri Procházka stopped Glover Teixeira with a submission with 28 seconds remaining in the fifth round to claim the UFC light heavyweight title in a grueling bout at UFC 275 on Sunday.
Procházka survived nearly five consistent rounds of punishment from 42-year-old Teixeira, who became a first-time UFC champion weighing 205 pounds late last year. After a back and forth fight that left both men injured and bleeding, the Czech challenger took the position to execute a choke that ended one of the most exciting title fights in recent UFC history.
Valentina Shevchenko defended her flyweight title with a narrow split-decision win over Taila Santos at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but the Brazilian challenger is likely to test the longtime champions more than any opponent during a run of seven defenses in a row.
Earlier, former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk announced her retirement after losing her rematch to Zhang Weili, who beat Poland’s veteran boxer in the second round with a backwards spin.
The UFC’s first pay-per-view card from Southeast Asia took place in the morning in Singapore to reach a lucrative US audience on Saturday night, but the fighters abandoned the early start to produce a series of highly entertaining fights.
The main event is a thriller that only gets better while Procházka manages to overcome many strategic blunders with toughness and flair. Procházka became the 15th undisputed UFC champion from the glamor division of mixed martial arts, with previous champions including Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell and Jon Jones.
Teixeira (33-8) leads 39-37 with two scorecards heading into the fourth round, meaning the Brazilian champions will almost certainly win the decision if he avoids a last-minute surrender.
“Do I see 42 out there?” Teixeira asked afterward. “No? Then I’ll keep going.”
Both boxers fired big shots from the opening round, and Teixeira seemed to turn the game in his favour when he injured Procházka in the second round, eventually landing an elbow that opened a large wound over Procházka’s left eye. Both boxers were bleeding from cuts in the third round, and Procházka also rattled Teixeira in the middle before his dramatic finish.
Moments earlier, Shevchenko (23-3) was tested from the opening round by Santos, who won four fights in a row to earn his first UFC title. The closest round was the second round, and Shevchenko was strong in the last two rounds after escaping a choke from Santos (19-2) that should have ended the fight in the third round.
“I left my heart there,” said Shevchenko. “I have a true championship mind, and I’m never satisfied with my performances.”
Two judges voted for Shevchenko 48-47 and 49-46, while the third scored it 48-47 for Santos, whose right eye was blocked by the final bell after an accidental head-on collision in the third quarter. Shevchenko’s seven straight title defenses is the most of any active champion.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t really see out of my right eye after it was closed,” Santos said. “I saw two Valentina. I just tried to hit in the middle.”
Shevchenko, UFC 125lb 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 in the bantamweight division ended last December.
Zhang (22-3) dominated Jedrzejczyk in a highly entertaining rematch of the former champions’ first meeting in March 2020, when Zhang won by double decision in a fight that Jedrzejczyk said he won. The Chinese veteran left the doubts for a second time, ending the bout with a spectacular spinning punch that ended it.
Afterwards, Jedrzejczyk (16-5) cited her desire to be a mother and exhaustion with training as reasons for hanging up her gloves. He held the strawweight title from 2015 to 2017, making a record five belt defenses before losing to Rose Namajunas and then losing to Shevchenko in the fight for the flyweight title.
“It’s been 20 years,” said Jedrzejczyk. “I am 35 this year. I want to be a mother. I want to be a businesswoman. I’ve been practicing more than half my life. I love you guys.”
Zhang will likely get his next chance to take on strawweight champion Carla Esparza.
UFC 275: Jiri Procházka stuns Glover Teixeira for title in instant classic | UFC
Source link UFC 275: Jiri Procházka stuns Glover Teixeira for title in instant classic | UFC