Jiri Prochazka Will Ask Poatan to Drop “Rituals,” Spiritual Help Ahead of UFC 303

Las Vegas — No one was expecting Jiri Prochazka, not light heavyweight champ Alex Pereira, to be competing at UFC 303, let alone in the main event.

The crown jewel of summer for the UFC, capping off International Fight Week, the selling point of UFC 303 for months had been the return of Conor McGregor, opposite Michael Chandler. Then, McGregor fell to injury, suffering a broken toe in training. That led to a hastily assembled headliner of Pereira vs. Prochazka 2.

“Short notice, so there was short preparation, but very good quality, great quality,” Prochazka said of the last-minute nature of the match-up on Wedesnday, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press during the UFC 303 media day. “So I’m happy for that.”

Asked about Pereira’s success, after “Poatan” defeated the Czech star in their first meeting, Prochazka credited one particular attribute.

“To be honest, his focus. That’s all,” explained Prochazka. “That’s it. His focus is everything, and he knows how to use that in a fight. And I know it too. So right now, for this Saturday, I realized what is necessary for a win in this fight, and I’m going to show that.”

While no one was expecting this main event, what fans expected even less was the rather mystical storyline in advance of the rematch. Ahead of UFC 303, Jiri Prochazka, appearing on The MMA Hour, told Ariel Helwani that he believes Pereira is receiving “spiritual help” in his fights.

“I think he believes a lot in help of spiritual things, and that’s something that I think he can’t fight without because I want to keep that in a clear line,” Prochazka said on the show. When Helwani asked for clarification on those “spiritual things,” the Czech contender explained by saying “everybody knows he is working with some Shamanics, with some Shamans from his hometown and he believes in some spiritual help from them.”

Jiri doubled down on that talk Wednesday, asked about his comments on the show.

“Everybody knows that. He’s doing these rituals before the fight, everybody can feel that, what’s around him and what’s going on. And I think Alex can’t fight without that. That’s something that he is using normally in fighting.”

“Let’s see. Right now, this is my challenge to him, if we can fight in a clear way in this case.” Whatever Pereira is relying on, in Prochazka’s mind, he wants the champ to drop it for their rematch. “Let the higher power be there in the cage to see who’s the best in the world, in the performance. In the pure performance. That’s all.”

When queried as to whether he would ask Pereira to drop his pre-fight rituals, Prochazka said simply, “Yeah.”

Watch the full UFC 303 media day appearance by Jiri Prochazka above.