UFC 275 Report: Jiri Prochazka submits Glover Teixeira to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, Shevchenko retains title
By: Eric Marcotte
On Saturday night, UFC 275 took place from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. The card featured two title fights, with Glover Teixeira attempting to defend his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Jiri Procházka in the main event. Teixeira defeated Jan Błachowicz for the title in October of last year, and this marked the 42-year-old fighter’s first attempted title defense. Procházka is one of the most entertaining fighters in the division, and after starting his UFC run with a pair of brutal knockout victories against Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes, it was decided that Procházka would jump right to a title shot. Procházka was the favorite going into this fight according to the oddsmakers, but Teixeira’s entire run to the title has been built off of spectacular underdog performances, and all eyes were on the champion as he attempted to pull off one more upset. The other title fight on this card saw UFC Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko attempting to defend her title for a seventh time, as she faced Talia Santos. Santos came into this fight with an impressive professional record of 19-1, but was naturally a sizeable underdog against Shevchenko, who has been one of the most dominant champions in the history of the promotion. This card also featured a rematch between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jędrzejczyk, as the two former strawweight champions fought to determine who would next challenge the division’s current champion, Carla Esparza.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Michael Bisping, and Daniel Cormier. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Silvana Gomez Juarez, Maheshate, Jack Della Maddalena, Jake Matthews, and Zhang Weili. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka. The announced attendance for this event was 10,787, with a total gate of $1,546,732.
*Jocelyne Edwards def. Ramona Pascual by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Silvana Gomez Juarez def. Na Liang by KO at 1:22 of Round 1
*Kyong Ho Kang def. Batgerel Danaa by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Brendan Allen def. Jacob Malkoun by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Maheshate def. Steve Garcia by KO at 1:14 of Round 1
*Joshua Culibao def. Seung Woo Choi by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Jack Della Maddalena def. Ramazan Emeev by TKO at 2:32 of Round 1
*Jake Matthews def. Andre Fialho by KO at 2:24 of Round 2
*Zhang Weili def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by KO at 2:28 of Round 2
*Valentina Shevchenko def. Talia Santos by split decision (48-47, 49-46, 47-48) to retain the UFC Flyweight Championship
*Jiri Prochazka def. Glover Teixeira by rear-naked choke at 4:32 of Round 5 to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
RAMONA PASCUAL (6-3, 145) VS JOSELYNE EDWARDS (10-4, 145) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Edwards pressured forward throughout the round, keeping Pascual on the backfoot. Edwards appeared to have a bit more power behind her punches and was overwhelming Pascual whenever she attacked in combination. Pascual attempted a takedown to no success, and Edwards began to attack the body with repeated teep kicks. Late in the round, a body kick from Pascual clearly hurt Edwards, forcing her to shoot for a takedown in an attempt to keep Pascual away from her. She was unable to take Pascual down, and Pascual was able to land a number of strong shots before time expired in the round. 10-9 Pascual.
Edwards defended a takedown to begin round two but ate a number of knees to the body in the process. Pascual was having success whenever she went on the attack, but the activity was not quite there, and Edwards was pulling ahead on the strike count. Edwards’ kicks continued to give Pascual problems throughout this round, and I thought Edwards took this round with her activity, despite a late takedown from Pascual. 19-19.
Pascual really committed to a takedown attempt early in the final round, as she attempted to lift Edwards into the air, however, Edwards defended the attempt well, and created the separation that she needed to keep the fight on the feet. Pascual just couldn’t seem to make it through the constant kicks that were being thrown out by Edwards in order to close the distance, and I thought that Pascual was falling behind in this round with two minutes remaining. Pascual landed another strong body kick in the final minute, but Edwards took this one well, and the fight went the distance. 29-28 Edwards.
WINNER: Jocelyne Edwards by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Edwards set a new divisional record for most strikes landed in a women’s featherweight fight in this bout, which is an especially impressive feat, given that the previous record (held by Amanda Nunes) came from a five-round bout. I thought the 30-27 scorecard was very questionable, as Pascual had Edwards in deep trouble at the end of the first round, but in the end, I believe the right fighter had her arm raised here. Edwards UFC record now stands at 2-2.
NA LIANG (19-5, 116) VS SILVANA GOMEZ JUAREZ (10-4, 116) – STRAWWEIGHT
Just over a minute into the fight, Juarez caught Liang with a massive right hand that dropped her, and as Liang attempted to pick herself up, Juarez knocked her out cold with a left hook.
WINNER: Silvana Gomez Juarez by KO at 1:22 of Round 1
This was a beautiful knockout from Juarez. Liang was pressuring forward throughout the opening minute, which resulted in her walking right into the shot from Juarez that initially knocked her down, and Juarez capitalized on the moment, throwing a vicious combination of punches that knocked Liang unconscious as she tried to recover. This was a much-needed win for Juarez after dropping her first two fights in the promotion, and Juarez called for a Performance of the Night bonus in her post-fight interview.
KYUNG HO KANG (17-9, 1 NC, 136) VS BATGEREL DANAA (12-3, 135) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Kang was able to keep Danaa at range by working his jab, while throwing a number of leg kicks as well. Danaa’s power was apparent whenever he landed, but in terms of activity, he was falling behind Kang early in this one. As the round progressed, however, Danaa began to find his range, and at one point he tagged Kang with an uppercut that backed him off of Danaa. Danaa backed Kang up with one of his strong hooks, and he swarmed Kang with strikes against the cage throughout the final minute of the round. 10-9 Danaa.
A strong jab from Kang stunned Danna early in the second round, but Danna recovered quickly. The fighters traded leg kicks, with Kang seemingly landing the more damaging kicks. Kang eventually shot for a takedown, but the attempt was defended. Danna found success whenever he attacked in combination, however, the jab of Kang continued to give him problems. At one point Danna partially landed an illegal knee, however, he was not given a warning for the strike, and the bout continued. This was a very close round. 19-19.
Danaa’s lead leg was in rough shape by this final round, however, he continued to press forward, and did not let the damage slow him down. Kang’s jab was still controlling the fight, which in turn prompted Danaa to fight a bit wildly as he attempted to throw hooks around the guard of Kang. Both fighters were landing with a great deal of power, and much like the second round, this was a tough round to score, but I thought that Kang did more damage, and I scored the round in his favor. 29-28 Kang.
WINNER: Kyong Ho Kang by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was a very competitive bout; however, Kang’s jab was really the difference-maker throughout the fight, doing considerable damage while repeatedly stopping Danaa in his tracks. Danaa did his best to create offense, and he certainly had the power to make Kang pay whenever he did land, but by and large, Kang was just a step ahead of Danna throughout the fight. Kang improved to 7-3 (1NC) in the UFC with this win.
BRENDAN ALLEN (18-5, 186) VS JACOB MALKOUN (6-1, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Malkoun caught Allen with a short-left hook early. It did not take long for Malkoun to shoot for a takedown, and he was successful in bringing Allen down near the cage, where he proceeded to take the back of Allen. Malkoun managed to take top position following a hip toss, however, Malkoun quickly worked his way back on top after fending off a guillotine attempt. 10-9 Malkoun.
They traded jabs early in the second round, as Allen attempted to convince Malkoun to strike with him. Malkoun gave Allen’s offer some thought, before quickly taking him back to the ground instead. Allen eventually worked his way back to the feet but was dragged right back to the ground, where Malkoun maintained top position for the majority of the round. 20-18 Malkoun.
Allen defended Malkoun’s first takedown attempt of the final round, but it did not take Malkoun long to wrap Allen up against the cage, and Malkoun eventually dragged him down. Allen managed to work his way into top position with two minutes remaining in the round, and while Allen was not terribly active from on top, neither was Malkoun throughout his two minutes of control time, so this was a rather tough five minutes to call. 29-28 Malkoun.
WINNER: Brendan Allen by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
If you want to watch a fight that showcases how the scoring criteria has changed over the years, this is a perfect example of damage outweighing all other factors. Malkoun largely dominated this fight with his wrestling, but he did very little damage while attempting no submissions, and that lack of activity cost him on the scorecards. Malkoun is clearly a talented fighter, but will have to make some changes to his game in the future in order to fully capitalize on his abilities. With this win, Allen improved to 7-2 in the UFC.
MAHESHATE (8-1, 155.5) VS STEVE GARCIA (12-4, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
It only took a few seconds for these fighters to start brawling, and after Garcia backed Maheshate off of him with a strong hook, Maheshate dropped Garcia with a hook of his own. Garcia recovered but ate a strong right hand from Maheshate as he pressured forward, and the shot knocked Garcia unconscious.
WINNER: Maheshate by KO at 1:14 of Round 1
While this was not a long fight, it was certainly a wild fight while it lasted. These two instantly started trading heavy shots, and it was Maheshate who got the better of the chaos, in the end, knocking Garcia out in dramatic fashion, as he fell face first to the ground. It takes a considerable amount of power to knock someone out while retreating, so Maheshate is clearly a fighter with heavy hands, and hopefully, a prospect to keep an eye on as he begins his UFC journey.
SEUNG WOO CHOI (10-4, 146) VS JOSHUA CULIBAO (9-1-1, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
The fighters were showered by boos from the crowd following a minute of inactivity. As the round progressed, both fighters got a bit busier, with Culibao seemingly a step ahead of Choi, constantly countering strongly. Late in the round, the fighters began to brawl, and Culibao rocked Choi badly during the exchange, effectively dropping him against the cage. It looked as though the fight was moments away from being stopped, but Choi managed to make it back to his feet, and he started flurrying forward wildly, tagging Culibao repeatedly as Culibao desperately tried to retreat. Wild end to a round that was rather slow beforehand. 10-9 Culibao.
Two minutes into the second round, Culibao dropped Choi hard with a straight right hand, but once again Choi showcased remarkable recovery by making it back to his feet. After the knockdown, Choi was clearly down in this round, but naturally did not want to put himself at risk of eating another big shot from Culibao. As a result, he was just a bit tentative for the remainder of the round, and thus I thought this was a fairly clear round for Culibao. 20-18 Culibao.
Choi was hunting for head kicks in the third round, however, Culibao was doing a good job of getting his head out range before they could connect. The leg kicks from Choi had added up throughout the fight, and perhaps as a result, Culibao started looking for takedowns as he attempted to bring the fight to the ground. Choi defended well, before securing a takedown of his own. Choi proceeded to take the back of Culibao on the ground, and Choi locked in a body triangle as he began to look for a rear-naked choke. Culibao avoided the submission attempts, and the fight went the distance. 29-28 Culibao.
WINNER: Joshua Culibao by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
There were some wild exchanges throughout this fight, and the crowd voiced their appreciation towards both fighters at the end of the bout. I disagreed strongly with the scorecard in favor of Choi here, as I thought the first two rounds were fairly clearly in favor of Culibao. Regardless, Culibao got the well-deserved nod from two of the three judges, and he has now won two consecutive fights, improving his overall UFC record to 2-1-1.
JACK DELLA MADDALENA (11-2, 170.5) VS RAMAZAN EMEEV (20-5, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Both fighters found early success on the feet. It did not take long for Emeev to shoot for a takedown, and as Della Maddalena attempted to roll out of it, Emeev took his back, and nearly caught him in an anaconda choke. Della Maddalena was able to escape the submission and return to his feet, where he went on the attack. Della Maddalena backed Emeev into the cage and dropped him with a brutal body shot. Emeev was done, and he covered up as Della Maddalena threw down right hands until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Jack Della Maddalena by TKO at 2:32 of Round 1
This was a real roller-coaster ride of a fight, with Emeev so close to securing that anaconda choke finish before Della Maddalena managed to escape and finish the fight on the feet. The body shot that Della Maddalena dropped Emeev with was a nasty one, and the follow-up shots were inconsequential, as Emeev was just completely winded following that shot. Della Maddalena is now 2-0 in the UFC following this win, with both of those victories coming in the first round.
ANDRE FIALHO (16-4, 1 NC, 170.5) VS JAKE MATTHEWS (17-5, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT
Fialho pressured forward as Matthews looked to counter him on his way in. Matthews landed a number of leg kicks throughout the round, which quickly caused visible damage to the lead leg of Fialho. Fialho was repeatedly getting caught by strong hooks whenever he closed the distance and was really having very little success offensively. Late in the round, they started trading strong hooks, and while Matthews seemed to be landing the strong shots, Fialho connected with his best strikes of the fight throughout this exchange.
A left hand from Matthews rocked Fialho early in the second round, and he began to pick Fialho apart against the cage, landing huge shots that were repeatedly buckling Fialho’s legs. Eventually, Matthews loaded up with a big right hand that sent Fialho down against the cage, and he did not have to follow that up with many more shots before the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Jake Matthews by KO at 2:24 of Round 2
Matthews looked incredible throughout this bout. He just picked Fialho apart on the feet, countering strongly whenever Fialho attempted to close the distance while beating up Fialho’s lead leg. Once Matthews had him hurt, Matthews did not get reckless, and just continued to pick his shots until Fialho finally went down. While we are all susceptible to recency bias, I thought this may have been Matthews’ best performance in the UFC to this point, and this was an excellent way for him to rebound from his loss to Sean Brady.
ZHANG WEILI (21-3, 116) VS JOANNA JEDRZEJCZYK (16-4, 116) – STRAWWEIGHT
This was a rematch of their bout from March of 2020, an incredible fight that Zhang won by split decision.
Zhang began the fight with a leg kick as Jedrzejczyk responded with a right hand. Jedrzejczyk landed a leg kick that swept Zhang off of her feet. These two were throwing strikes so quickly that it was hard to tell who was landing. Zhang opted to take Jedrzejczyk down, where she landed some strong ground and pound strikes as Jedrzejczyk attempted to pick herself up. Zhang momentarily took Jedrzejczyk’s back, before ultimately transitioning to full mount. Zhang was landing brutal elbows from top position, and Jedrzejczyk took a ton of damage here before finally making it back to her feet. They traded heavy right hands, with Jedrzejczyk seemingly landing the harder shots before time expired.
The fighters exchanged leg kicks as well as straight right hands to start round two, before Zhang started going to the body with her kicks. Jedrzejczyk was ducking in and loading up on her shots, which resulted in Zhang landing some strong counters. Jedrzejczyk defended a takedown attempt for Zhang, but was tagged by a one-two moments later. As Jedrzejczyk pressured forward, Zhang caught her with a spinning back fist, and Jedrzejczyk faceplanted to the ground, unconscious.
WINNER: Zhang Weili by KO at 2:28 of Round 2
Firstly, this was a very fun fight while it lasted. The pace of the bout was just as crazy as their first fight, and I thought Zhang in particular looked fantastic throughout. She gave Jedrzejczyk a ton of problems with her vastly improved wrestling ability and countered well whenever Jedrzejczyk pressured forward. The knockout itself was spectacular, and will surely be replayed for years. While Jedrzejczyk has been stopped once before, this marked the only time in her career in which she has been knocked unconscious, which further emphasizes the impressiveness of the power that Zhang generated here. After the bout, Zhang called out the division’s champion, Carla Esparza, specifically asking to fight her at UFC 281 in Abu Dhabi.
After the conclusion of the fight, Jedrzejczyk took her gloves off in the cage, and ultimately announced her retirement from MMA. If this is indeed Jedrzejczyk’s final bout, she will retire with a professional record of 16-5. She won 6 UFC title fights throughout her career, including five consecutive title defenses, a record that has yet to be touched in the UFC strawweight division. Jedrzejczyk will be a lock for the UFC Hall of Fame, and her first bout against Zhang will go down as one of the most iconic fights in the history of the sport.
VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO (22-3, 124.5) VS TAILA SANTOS (19-1, 125) – UFC FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Shevchenko wrapped Santos up against the cage early. She was not terribly active from the position and ultimately gave up her back while attempting to trip Santos to the ground. Santos started searching for a rear-naked choke, however, Shevchenko defended well, and Santos was unable to secure the position before time expired in the round. 10-9 Santos.
In round two, it was Santos who controlled the action against the cage for some time, before taking Shevchenko down with room to work. Shevchenko was active from her guard, looking for submissions off of her back, as Santos looked to advance her position. I didn’t think Santos was quite active enough from top positon here, and referee Jason Herzog agreed, as the fighters were eventually stood up. Shevchenko attempted a hip toss to bring Santos back to the ground, but Santos rolled into top position, and ended the round in Shevchenko’s guard. Close round. 19-19.
Shevchenko found her range on the feet early in round three, tagging her repeatedly on the feet, before taking Santos down. Santos immediately popped back to her feet, and she brought Shevchenko to the cage, where she ultimately took Shevchenko back down. Santos quickly took the back of Shevchenko, and she looked for rear-naked chokes for the remainder of the round. 29-28 Santos.
The right eye of Santos had really started to swell shut between rounds, and she was beginning to look a bit tired on the feet. A kick from Shevchenko landed low, and the fight was paused momentarily as Santos was given time to recover. As the round progressed, Santos’s right eye looked as though it was completely closed, and Shevchenko began to take over, picking Santos apart from range. That being said, Shevchenko wasn’t pushing a heavy pace, and her shots did not have Santos in imminent danger of being finished. Still, referee Jason Herzog was not taking his eyes off of Santos, keeping a close eye on the considerable swelling. Santos ended the round with one more takedown. 38-38.
It was determined that Santos could continue fighting despite the condition of her eye, and the fifth and final round of this fight began. Shevchenko caught Santos with a solid combination early in the round, but as she tripped Santos to the ground, Santos was able to reverse the position and climb onto the back of Shevchenko once more. This time, Shevchenko was able to work her way out from under Santos, and she landed a hard right hand upon returning to the feet. Shevchenko tripped Santos to the ground with two and a half minutes remaining, and she maintained top position for the remainder of the fight. 48-47 Shevchenko.
WINNER: Valentina Shevchenko by split decision (48-47, 49-46, 47-48) to retain the UFC Flyweight Championship
Santos unquestionably gave Shevchenko her toughest fight yet at flyweight, and honestly, the scorecard in her favor was not an unreasonable one. Shevchenko definitely started to dominate the fight after an accidental clash of heads resulted in Santos’s right eye swelling shut, but prior to that, Santos was giving Shevchenko a ton of trouble on the ground. The scorecards were all over the place among the judges here, but I didn’t find any of the scores to be indefensible, and it feels inevitable that these two fighters will meet again down the road. This win marked Shevchenko’s seventh consecutive successful title defense, which is a new record among the women’s divisions in the UFC.
GLOVER TEIXEIRA (33-7, 205) VS JIRI PROCHAZKA (28-3-1, 205) – UFC LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Teixeira opened up with a heavy kick to the body. Prochazka responded with a leg kick, before Teixeira dug into the body with a hook. Teixeira eventually chased after a single leg, and he was able to drag Prochazka to the ground near the cage. Teixeira landed a number of short elbows, before moving into the north-south position as Prochazka attempted to pick himself up. Prochazka managed to escape to his feet, where he began to go on the attack, but Teixeira took him right back down. Teixeira was able to take full mount, and he postured up, throwing down heavy shots at Prochazka. Prochazka defended an armbar attempt from Teixeira, and ultimately took top position right before time expired, where he threw down some bombs at Teixeira before time expired in the round.
Prochazka was giving Teixeira problems on the feet early in the second round, getting some big reactions out of the champion. Prochazka hurt Teixeira with a number of shots against the cage, and Teixeira was looking a bit overwhelmed, effectively pulling guard at one point. Prochazka was really starting to pull away with this fight, but he slipped after a hook from Teixeira, and Teixeira immediately capitalized, taking top position as the fight moved to the ground. With fifteen seconds remaining in the round, Teixeira postured up and started throwing down some of the most vicious ground and pound blows imaginable, cutting Prochazka open.
The cut above the left eye of Prochazka looked nasty, but he seemed to be refreshed between rounds, and he defended a number of early takedown attempts from Teixeira. Prochazka was picking Teixeira apart on the feet and was killing him with elbows and body shots against the cage. Teixeira eventually went down, beat up and exhausted, and Prochazka followed him down, where he landed numerous ground and pound shots before attempting an arm triangle. Teixeira escaped the submission and began to work from top position late in the round. Teixeira did land some elbows before time in the round expired, but this was a very clear round for the challenger.
Teixeira went on the attack early in round four, and he was able to take Prochazka to the ground after a solid combination. Teixeira worked his way into mount, where he started hunting for an arm triangle. Prochazka was in trouble, but Teixeira’s positioning was slightly off, and Prochazka capitalized, taking top position with ninety seconds to work. From here, Teixeira managed to work his way to the back of Prochazka, but he could not secure the rear-naked choke, and once again, Prochazka took top position. Close round, but I gave the edge to Teixeira.
The fighters toughed gloves and hugged before the start of the final round. Teixeira rocked Prochazka badly with a right hand just seconds into the final round, but he made the mistake of jumping on a guillotine, and he slipped of Prochazka, giving him time to recover. As the fight continued to play out on the feet, Teixeira was doing a ton of damage every time he tagged Prochazka. Eventually, Teixeira was successful in taking Prochazka down, but Procházka’s grappling continued to impress, as he reversed the position and grabbed the neck of Teixeira with just seconds in the fight remaining. Prochazka locked in a rear-naked choke with time running out in the fight, and Teixeira was forced to submit.
WINNER: Jiri Prochazka by rear-naked choke at 4:32 of Round 5 to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
This was one of the greatest, craziest, title fights in UFC history. Both fighters were on the verge of finishing the other multiple times, and the wild swings in momentum felt like something out of a movie. After the fight, it was confirmed by Jon Anik that Teixeira was up on the scorecards heading into the final round on two of the three scorecards, so he was less than thirty seconds away from retaining his title prior to the finish. Naturally, that will be a tough pill to swallow for Teixeira, but the former champion should feel no shame, as fighting five rounds at the championship level at the age of 42 is a remarkable feat. After the bout, Teixeira confirmed that he will continue his MMA career, and would later ask for a rematch with Prochazka, which is certainly an exciting prospect if the rematch does indeed materialize. If not Teixeira, former champion Jan Błachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev are both compelling challengers for Prochazka, and at this point, every Prochazka bout feels like guaranteed fireworks regardless of his opponent.