UFC 295‘s main event between Jiri Prochazka and Alex Pereira began with an extended staredown between two of the fiercest fighters in the promotion — a fitting start for a highly anticipated clash with the vacant 205lb title on the line.
The opening round of the light heavyweight title fight saw Pereira find considerable success on the feet early. Despite stance switches from Prochazka, he struggled to find a way inside, and was nearly taken off his feet more than once from the Brazilian’s downright nasty leg kicks.
When Prochazka finally closed the distance for a takedown, Pereira defended with a tight guillotine. But Prochazka survived, hoisted Alex Pereira up, and finished the attempt, spending some time on top before Pereira scrambled out towards the end of the frame.
Round two saw Jiri Prochazka nearly duck into a high kick, while the ex-light heavyweight champ’s lead leg was quickly showing the damage pile up. But the Czech fighter let his hands go, touching up Pereira and drawing him into a bit of a firefight along the fence. “Poatan” would survive, and touch up the legs some more before Prochazka closed the distance and tied things up against the cage.
Then, the rails came off. Prochazka ate a blow that wobbled him by the fence, ate a volley of elbows to the head, and dropped with Pereira on top of him in mount. Prochazka held on and appeared to be defending, but the ref was in waving off the fight — a stoppage that certainly felt a tad early under the circumstances, as Prochazka never stopped defending nor went out.
The stoppage will be debated for some time to come, with even the broadcast questioning the timing. That shouldn’t take away from the accomplishment of Alex Pereira, who becomes the latest (and ninth) two-weight class champ in UFC history, having previously held gold at 185lbs.
In his post-fight interview, Pereira called for another fight with Israel Adesanya, at light heavyweight. Prochazka, meanwhile, downplayed the stoppage controversy, siding with the ref.
Official Result: Alex Pereira def. Jiri Prochazka by knockout, Round 2, 4:08