UFC 303: Alex Pereira Shines, Stops Jiri Prochazka Again in Rematch

Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka, UFC 303
Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka, UFC 303 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

With all the talk of Shamans and “black magic” heading into the UFC 303 main event on Saturday, fans just hoped for a magical outing between Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka.

The pair had first met last year, with Pereira winning the then-vacant light heavyweight title to become the UFC‘s latest double-champ. Prochazka then bounced back against Aleksandar Rakic, while “Poatan” Pereira defended his belt against Jamahal Hill that same night.

Early on, the UFC 303 main event was a chess game brimming with anticipation as the pair felt things out. Prochazka fired a kick or two, and switched to southpaw. Pereira had success with his own low kicks, but it was the champ catching Prochazka coming in more than once with some crisp shots that had greater impact. Pereira then went to the body with a thudding kick, and connected up top the next time Prochazka came in. This time, Prochazka was able to clinch up, and put Pereira on the fence.

Back to the cage, Pereira was still able to connect with a knee. Prochazka remained in the driver’s seat, but had yet been able to land a takedown. With Pereira fighting the wrists, that takedown wouldn’t come, and instead they’d move back to center, where Pereira landed leg kicks before knocking down Prochazka with a left hand right at the buzzer!

Round two opened with one big question, as to how compromised Jiri Prochazka was from that knockdown. The answer came early, with Pereira instantly dropping the Czech again, this time with a switch kick to the head! Prochazka attempted to recover, on his knees, but ate even more punishment from the champ before ref Herb Dean called it off. Meanwhile, after it was all over, Pereira snapped his toe back into place, which appeared to have dislocated off the kick.

The win, in a short-notice fight booked to replace the injured Conor McGregor, will put “Poatan” on the short list for Fight of the Year, given his other big win at UFC 300 back in April. As for a possible heavyweight move, Pereira told Joe Rogan that he believes “it’s in my future,” though there didn’t seem to be too much interest on the part of the organization.

That may very well change following Saturday.

Official Result: Alex Pereira def. Jiri Prochazka by TKO (head kick and punches), Round 2, 0:13