Jiri Prochazka will not play Glover Teixeira again next month after suffering a serious shoulder injury which will sideline him for a long time.
As a result, Prochazka vacated the UFC light heavyweight title which will now be up for grabs when former champion Jan Blachowicz takes on Magomed Ankalaev in the new main event of UFC 282 on December 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas.
“Out of respect for the athletes and the division, Prochazka has elected to vacate his title and will compete for the belt as soon as he is medically cleared,” the UFC said in a press release.
Company president Dana White told Yahoo Sports that Teixeira opted out of the card against another opponent.
“We offered Glover the fight [against Ankalaev]. For some reason he didn’t want to fight, so we had to move on,” he said.
“If we couldn’t have the rematch, getting Ankalaev, who has the second-longest winning streak in light heavyweight history, and Blachowicz, who is the former champion, is really lucky.
“Everything fell into place for us, as it often seems to do. But it’s also a great fight, and now it’s for the full title.
Teixeira wanted more time to prepare for Ankalaev and offered to book the fight for UFC 283 which takes place on January 21 in Brazil.
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“I told them I needed more time for this guy, he has a different style, the guy is a southpaw. I said, ‘How about you fight him in Brazil?’ They denied that and said they needed someone to fight in Vegas,” he told ESPN.
“I said, ‘OK, I’m going to fight Jan [Blachowicz] in Vegas. If you’re going to dump me, Jan has a regular position. Ankalaev is a totally different game. I need more time.”
The 43-year-old Brazilian was hoping to regain the title he lost to Prochazka who submitted him in the fifth round of the best fight 2022 had to offer.
‘The Czech Samurai’ was down on the scorecards heading into the final round of his title fight at UFC 275 before taking his fate out of the hands of the judges in Singapore.
Without a clear number one contender at light heavyweight, a rematch has been booked but is now canceled and unlikely to take place at a later date.
Blachowicz hopes to become a two-time UFC champion within weeks after winning the 205-pound title immediately after Jon Jones left him.
The Polish knockout artist defended his belt in impressive fashion as he became the first man to beat Israel Adesanya who stepped up a weight class in an attempt to capture a second strap.
However, Blachowicz fell to a second-round submission loss to Teixeira in his next bout and has only picked up one injury-induced win over Aleksandr Rakic since then.
After losing his UFC debut to a last-second Paul Craig submission, Ankalaev put together an eight-fight winning streak that included impressive victories over Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos and Volkan Oezdemir.
The Russian fighter appeared to be just one victory away from a title shot before Prochazka’s unfortunate injury propelled him into the biggest fight of his life on short notice.
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