UFC 251: Who is light heavyweight newcomer Jiri Prochazka?

Jiri Prochazka (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jiri Prochazka (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) /

Who is UFC light heavyweight prospect Jiri Prochazka?

Jiri Prochazka is a name that has been in the conversation of hardcore UFC fans for quite some time now. At just 27 years old, Prochazka (26-3-1) has been competing in Rizin Fighting Federation for the past four years, capturing their inaugural light heavyweight championship and defending it once before being signed by the UFC in January.

Prochazka won the RIZIN FF belt by defeating Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal via third-round TKO, and would later go on to defend that same belt by knocking out CB Dolloway in just under two minutes.

Prochazka holds wins over UFC veterans like Fabio Maldonado, CB Dolloway, and Darko Stosic. Prochazka is currently on a eleven-fight winning streak at the moment, with ten of those wins coming via KO/TKO. Prochazka lives and trains out of his home country of The Czech Republic.

Who is Jiri Prochazka’s first opponent?

Prochazka will be making his UFC debut against former title challenger and current No. 7 light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir. This fight is certainly a step up in competition for Prochazka, but it shows the faith the UFC have in him to put him up against a top-10 fighter in his promotional debut. This bout should be a good barometer of where Prochazka is technically and how he stacks up in the UFC’s 205-pound division. Both men like to strike, so don’t be surprised if either of these fighters gets dropped at some point.

As for his opponent, Oezdemir (17-4) has bounced back as of late, winning his last two fights following a three-fight skid that included a world title fight loss to Daniel Cormier in 2018. His last outing saw him edge out fellow contender Aleksandar Rakic in a close split decision. Prior to that, Oezdemir scored a powerful KO over Ilir Latifi which earned him a performance bonus. If Prochazka can get a win over a guy like Oezdemir, he sets himself up for a big fight down the line, possibly with a top-5 opponent.

Catch Prochazka vs. Oezdemir headlining the ESPN prelims, the final fight before the PPV main card begins.

Next. 30 little known facts about the UFC. dark

UFC 251 takes place on Saturday, July 11, 2020, live from Fight Island on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.