Jiri Prochazka vacates light heavyweight title after injury; Title fight booked between Blachowicz and Ankalaev

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 10: (LR) Opponents Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira compete during UFC 282 Media Day at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on November 10, 2022 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

Jiri Prochazka vs Glover Teixeira 2 was canceled after Prochazka retired and vacated the UFC light heavyweight title due to injury. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jiri Prochazka has sustained a serious injury to his right shoulder, forcing him not only to give up his UFC 282 title defense against Glover Teixeira, but also to vacate his belt. Teixeira turned down an opportunity to fight anyone else for the title, so the UFC made former champion Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev the main event on December 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Tim Simpson, Prochazka’s manager, said, “The shoulder was destroyed in a normal wrestling accident.” UFC President Dana White said doctors told him the injury was major.

“This is the worst shoulder injury doctors have seen in UFC history,” White told Yahoo Sports. “It’s really damn bad. His shoulder is very, very bad. He will undergo serious surgery that will require extensive rehabilitation.”

Simpson said the injury happened at the UFC Performance Institute. He said it popped out and someone put it back in.

“You know how shoulders are, right?” said Simpson. “It pops out and often you put it right back in. There was a wait and it showed up. And you never really know with a shoulder until you dig into it.”

Simpson said the team was in the process of determining when and where the surgery would take place.

Prochazka won the title from Teixeira at UFC 275 on June 11 in Singapore. He submitted Teixeira with a rear naked choke with 28 seconds left in a match that’s a front-runner for Fight of the Year.

The UFC offered Teixeira a fight against Ankalaev for the vacant title, but he turned it down. Yahoo Sports couldn’t reach Teixeira, but Hunter Campbell, the UFC’s chief business officer, said Teixeira “probably” wants to regain the title from Prochazka.

“We caught up with Jiri last night and listen, this guy is one of the classiest people ever,” White said. “He’s such a warrior and was so depressed. He made us step aside before we even got there. He’ll be out a long time and at some point we probably should have undressed him. But he brought it up to us and out of respect for the other fighters said he didn’t want to stop the division let me tell you the boy’s a stud man to react like that.

“We offered the fight to Glover [against Ankalaev]. For some reason he didn’t want the fight, so we had to move on. If we couldn’t have the rematch, it would be really lucky to have Ankalaev, who has the second longest winning streak in light heavyweight history, and Blachowicz, the former champion. It all fell into place for us, as it often seems. But it’s also a great fight and now it’s for the full title.”

Blachowicz is #2 and Ankalaev is #3 in the current UFC light heavyweight rankings. Ankalaev is 18-1 overall and has nine straight wins in the UFC since his only loss of his career, a loss to Paul Craig on March 17, 2018 in London in his UFC debut.

Blachowicz is the former UFC champion who lost his belt to Teixeira at UFC 267 on October 30, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He returned to win a fight, defeating Aleksandar Rakic ​​via TKO on May 14 in Las Vegas. Rakic ​​suffered a knee injury that forced the end of that fight.

The new co-main event at UFC 282 is an easy fight between rising Paddy Pimblett (19-3) and Jared Gordon (19-5).

Magomed Ankalaev (left), who hits Anthony Smith during a fight at UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center on July 30 in Dallas, Texas, will face Jan Blachowicz for the vacant IM title on December 10 in the UFC 282 main event Light Heavyweight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Magomed Ankalaev (left), who hits Anthony Smith during a fight at UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center on July 30 in Dallas, Texas, will face Jan Blachowicz for the vacant IM title on December 10 in the UFC 282 main event Light Heavyweight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

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