Jiri Prochazka accepted the referee’s decision to stop him from continuing, acknowledging Alex Pereira’s victory in claiming the vacant light-heavyweight title at UFC 295.
The TNT Sports commentary team pondered whether the fight, held at New York’s Madison Square Garden, could have been extended a bit longer.
Following the second-round stoppage, Prochazka stated: “I think it was the right call.”
“I was out, but I will never stop. I want to work on it and come back stronger than ever. I’ll be back.”
The Czech returned to the ring for the first time in 16 months after recovering from a shoulder injury that had led him to vacate the belt without making a defense.
Referee Mark Goddard put an end to the contest after Pereira brought Prochazka down to his back and landed in full mount.
Pereira had already delivered a clean right hook, sending Prochazka down to his knees before connecting with several harsh elbow shots to the side of the head.
The Brazilian commented, “I’m not surprised [it was stopped]. After the first left hook, he fell to my legs, and I don’t think it was a bad stoppage.”
Prochazka had defeated Glover Teixeira to clinch the belt in June 2022. It was his third fight following his signing with the UFC.
The two fighters were scheduled for a rematch in December, but Prochazka suffered the “worst shoulder injury UFC doctors have seen,” as stated by UFC president Dana White.
Prochazka, 31, will have to wait for another chance to compete for the light-heavyweight title, with Jamahall Hill next in line.
Hill won the vacant belt in January, defeating Teixeira, but was also forced to relinquish his title after rupturing his Achilles tendon.
The American was present in the audience at Madison Square Garden.
Pereira takes his place among UFC stars
Having secured a legendary status in kickboxing by winning titles at two weight classes with the Glory promotion, Pereira has rapidly ascended to the zenith of the mixed martial arts world.
The Brazilian made his UFC debut in 2021 and, a year later in just his fourth appearance in the octagon, he was crowned middleweight champion following a TKO victory against Israel Adesanya.
Pereira lost the rematch at UFC 287 and subsequently moved up to light-heavyweight, where he defeated Blachowicz in July.
His triumph against Pereira makes him just the ninth fighter to win titles in two weight classes in the UFC, accomplishing that feat in record-breaking time – just seven fights.
When asked about the potential of facing Hill in his first defense, Pereira said: “I’m an active fighter and I want to fight him really soon.”
However, the 36-year-old also expressed his intention to face old foe Adesanya for the third time in the UFC and the fifth time overall, giving their two previous encounters – both ending in victory for Pereira – while being signed with Glory.
Pereira suggested that Adesanya, who lost the middleweight title to Sean Strickland in September, should move up to light-heavyweight.
“I’m not the type of guy to call people out, but there’s a guy that back in the day [who] did some interviews and said I was a guy who was just going to stay in the bar,” Pereira said.
“That motivated me. He rescued me from a bar to be here today. This guy said he just wants to come back and fight in 2027. I think he’s a very talented guy. It’s a waste of talent so I want to rescue him too, to come here and fight.
“I know that I’m not going to do what he did to me, and make me fight three times to fight him at middleweight. We have a lot of history. I want to make this fight happen. Adesanya, come to daddy.”
Sarah Foster is your guide to the world of Mixed Martial Arts. With a deep understanding of MMA’s intricacies and a passion for the sport, she offers comprehensive coverage of MMA events, fighter profiles, and in-depth analysis of fights. Sarah’s commitment to the octagon ensures that readers stay engaged with the latest developments in the MMA world.