UFC debuts on Fight Island on July 11, 2020 with UFC 251. Of course “Fight Island” is actually Yas Island, residing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The card is a major event headlined by three title fights. Hopefully. First, you have Kamaru Usman defending his welterweight title against
Gilbert Burns Jorge Masvidal. Alexander Volkanovski will be defending his featherweight belt for the first time against Max Holloway in a rematch. You also have Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo for the vacant bantamweight title.
Lower on this very stacked card you will see the debut of one of the hottest free agency signings in quite some time, Jiri Prochazka. The former RIZIN light heavyweight champion will hit the octagon for the first time, and will actually be headlining the prelims. Welcoming Jiri to the UFC will be former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir (17-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC).
Jiri “Denisa” Prochazka
Brno, Czech Republic
Jetsaam Gym Brno
How will Prochazka fare in the UFC:
Jiri Prochazka is already a proven fighter who has beat stiff competition. He holds wins over King Mo Lawal, CB Dolloway, Jake Heun, Brandon Hasley, and Vadim Nemkov plus other good fighters. Primarily a striker, Jiri does have decent grappling and has a few finishes with ground and pound. On the feet is where Prochazka thrives however, with his straight punches, good footwork, and athleticism.
On the outside Jiri Prochazka will use a lot of twitches and feints creating openings while frequently switching stances. He fights behind the lead jab as he doesn’t necessarily have knockout power. Still, he’s very active with his hands. Usually never throwing just one strike, he frequently throws combinations. He tends to hold his hands so low that it’s tough for opponents to read him. His kickboxing plays a big part in his striking. He’s not necessarily dangerous with his kicks but uses them to set up his striking and maintain his range.
If there’s a weakness for Prochazka, it’s his takedown defense. With that said he has drastically improved there fight to fight. He has also shown that the longer the fight goes, the better his defense gets. Jiri does hold his chin out and his hands low, contributing to the fact that he has been cracked before. Thanks to that tendency with his stance/hands, there will always be concern regarding the knockout.
How does Prochazka match up with Oezdemir:
I really don’t like this fight for Prochezka’s debut. I understand he was the RIZIN light heavyweight champion, but beating opposition like Dolloway, Lawler, and Maldonado shouldn’t result in getting a top UFC 205lb’er. Skill-wise Jiri Prochezka is the much better fighter all day — but Oezdemir has quite a few paths to victory. If Oezdemir opts to attack Prochazka’s legs, it could be an important factor because the Czech fighter doesn’t take leg kicks very well. Oezdemir could also try and use his wrestling and could very well catch Jiri. He certainly has the power to do so. Despite being very high on Jiri Prochazka I think Oezdemir gets the win.