Jiri Prochazka is no longer the UFC light heavyweight champion after being forced to vacate the belt.
It's understood the Czech fan favourite suffered a 'serious' shoulder injury and was therefore unable to defend his title against Glover Teixeira in the UFC 282 main event.
According to Ariel Helwani, Prochazka was adamant on still fighting, even insisting he'd scrap 'with one arm'.
With Prochazka out, the UFC appears desperate to have a championship bout to headline the card and has turned their attention to two of the division's other contenders.
Instead of still giving Teixeira a shot at regaining his title, it has been announced that Magomed Ankalaev will take on ex-champ Jan Blachowicz for the 205-pound strap.
“UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka has suffered a shoulder injury that will require a significant rehabilitation period,” the UFC said in a statement. “Out of respect to the athletes and the division, Prochazka has elected to vacate his title and will compete for the belt as soon as he is medically cleared.”
According to respected MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, the UFC did initially offer Teixeira a fight against Ankalaev but the Brazilian veteran requested more time, urging the promotion to match him up against Blachowicz instead.
When the UFC shook their head, Teixeira suggested bringing Ankalaev to Brazil and fighting there in January, but the UFC was insistent on crowning a new light heavyweight champion at UFC 282.
So, with that said, Dana White and the matchmakers opted for Ankalaev vs Blachowicz.
Just spoke to Glover and Jiri’s team. Here’s the full story on UFC 282, live from my car. pic.twitter.com/okx1yH2B0r— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 23, 2022
The brand new UFC 282 main event promises to be an exciting one, but for us fans, we would have loved to see Prochazka and Teixeira run it back after they produced a fight-of-the-year candidate earlier this year.
That said, it does seem that Prochazka's shoulder is very, very bad.
“This is the worst shoulder injury the doctors have seen in UFC history,” White told Yahoo Sports!.
“It’s really f*cking bad. His shoulder is very, very bad. He’s going to have serious surgery that will require extensive rehab.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy