Prochazka vacates title; Blachowicz to fight Ankalaev for gold at UFC 282
UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka won't defend his title at UFC 282 on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas due to a severe shoulder injury, the promotion announced Wednesday.
Prochazka announced he'll be out for at least six months and will vacate the title "out of respect to the athletes and the division."
Former champion Jan Blachowicz will now fight Magomed Ankalaev for the undisputed light heavyweight title in the UFC 282 main event. The lightweight bout between rising star Paddy Pimblett and Jared Gordon will serve as the co-main event, according to Damon Martin of MMA Fighting.
Former titleholder Glover Teixeira, who reportedly verbally agreed in August to square off in a rematch against Prochazka, declined an offer to fight someone else for the championship. Before the UFC scheduled the Blachowicz-Ankalaev fight at UFC 282, the promotion tried to book Teixeira against Ankalaev for the newly vacant title.
"I told them I needed more time for this guy, that he has a different style," said Teixeira, who offered to fight Ankalaev for the title at UFC 283 in Brazil, according to ESPN's Brett Okamoto.
"The guy is a southpaw. I said, 'What about fighting him in Brazil?' They denied that and said they needed someone to fight in Vegas. I said, 'OK, I'll fight Jan in Vegas. If you're going to throw me off, Jan has a regular stance. Ankalaev is a totally different game. I need more time."
The 43-year-old Teixeira now expects to eventually fight the winner of the UFC 282 main event.
Prochazka injured his right shoulder while wrestling, his manager told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.
President Dana White told Iole it's "the worst shoulder injury the doctors have seen in UFC history," adding that "extensive rehab" will follow a "serious surgery."
Prochazka beat Teixeira at UFC 275 in June to win the 205-pound title. Before losing the belt, Teixeira finished Blachowicz in October 2021 to become the second-oldest UFC champion ever at age 42.
Blachowicz, 39, is coming off a TKO win against Aleksandar Rakic in May, while Ankalaev has defeated his last nine opponents, including Anthony Smith in July. Blachowicz and Ankalaev rank second and third in the light heavyweight division, respectively.