A battle of the ages. The modern-day samurai returns to capture what was once his and on the other side of the battlefront is a tribal warrior seeking revenge for his teammate. On Nov. 11 the two forces will collide when Jiri Prochazka (29-3-1) faces Alex Pereira (8-2) for the vacant lightweight title in the UFC 295 main event at Madison Square Garden.
After a year and a half layoff due to a serious shoulder injury, Prochazka emerged back into the UFC and will fight for the title for a second time. Before his absence, the last known visual was him exiting the Octagon with the belt after submitting Glover Teixeira in the final minute of the final round in a Fight of the Year match. Prochazka's tenure against the best has been undeniable finishing every opponent he has encountered in the past six years. In just four UFC fights he has finished game fighters like Volkan Oezdemir, Dominick Reyes, and Glover Teixeira.
Since entering the MMA world the former two-weight Glory Kickboxing champion has taken over the sport with world-class striking and highlight moments. Pereira in six UFC fights has captured the middleweight title and eyes to be in a rare pack of fighters to capture a second title in a different weight class (not simultaneously). After losing his first UFC fight and the middleweight title, he decided to move up and successfully make his light heavyweight debut by defeating former champion, Jan Blachowicz via split decision. Known to be one of the most dangerous and technical strikers in the world, he has defeated Israel Adesanya, Sean Strickland, and has plans to add Prochazka to that list on Saturday.
Jiri Prochazka vs. Alex Pereira prediction
Let's start by stating the obvious by saying there will more than likely be no grappling exchanges in this brawl. Prochazka and Pereira are recognized to be lethal strikers with knockout power and between them, they share 31 KO/TKOs in 43 bouts. Prochazka's fighting style is one embodied by awkwardness and uniqueness with creative striking and excellent cardio. Pereira is almost the complete opposite of his opponent because he is a gifted tactician with pristine fundamentals and technique who knows how to balance his range and power.
For Prochazka to have success against a striker like Pereira he will need to instill his will by walking forward, cutting off the octagon, creating angles, and leaving little space for error when his opponent's back is on the cage. It is vital for him not be give Pereira space to make reads and be the one walking backwards.
Pereira's path to victory is typically to outstrike his opponent and keep his composure when he sees his opponent as a deer in the headlights. With his leg kicks and the left hook that no one can survive, it is justifiable that the more talented fighter will mount on top or finish the challenger who embodies a weird style. Prochazka may have some moments early on but ultimately Pereira will be too much to overcome and he will fall in the later rounds.
Prediction: Alex Pereira via round 4 TKO