The Octagon makes its way to Singapore for UFC 275, headlined by a Light Heavyweight title fight which will be a classic striker vs grappler match-up.
Glover Teixeira (33-7) vs Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1)
The feel good story of 2021 was seeing 42 year old Glover Teixeira reach the top of the 205lb division after 10 years in the UFC. He rode a five fight win streak into his bout with Jan Blachowicz and didn’t disappoint, choking him out in the 2nd round to win the Light Heavyweight title.
Jiri Prochazka’s career in the UFC couldn’t be any different to that of the champion. He is 29 years old and has only had two fights inside the Octagon, both ending in violent knockout wins for the man they call “Denisa.”
Despite his brief UFC tenure, Prochazka comes into this fight riding a massive wave of momentum. His style is chaotic to say the least, throwing strikes from unorthodox angles but it has become quite clear, when he hits an opponent, they stay hit.
Teixeira’s best chance to defend his title will be to take this fight to the ground immediately, however with youth and athleticism on his side, Prochazka should be able to land something meaningful early on and become the Czech Republic’s first ever UFC champion.
Valentina Shevchenko (22-3) vs Taila Santos (19-1)
Another Women’s Flyweight title fight, another short-priced match up for Valentina Shevchenko.
Since losing to Amanda Nunes, “Bullet” has vanquished every opponent put in front of her, winning and defending her 115lb title seven times. She most recently dominated Lauren Murphy at UFC 266, winning by TKO in Round 4.
Taila Santos fought her way into the UFC via Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series, winning an unanimous decision over Estefani Almeida. Since then, she has gone 4-1 and was impressive when choking out Joanne Wood at UFC Fight Night 198.
Santos is nothing if not game but she faces a massive rise in class here. She is a well-rounded fighter but Shevchenko should have her covered in all facets. The likely outcome is Shevchenko wrestling her way to top control, assuming her favourite mounted-crucifix position and dropping bombs until the referee puts a halt to proceedings.
Weili Zhang (21-3) vs Joanna Jędrzejczyk (16-4)
These two ex-champions will run it back in a rematch from UFC 248 which was hailed as one of the greatest fights in MMA history. Zhang won a razor-thin split decision that day and with a guaranteed title shot on the line here, we should expect another cracker of a fight.
Jędrzejczyk hasn’t fought since that fight and will now be first-up for more than 27 months. Zhang on the other hand has fought twice, dropping a pair of decisions to Rose Namajunas.
Despite her back-to-back losses, Zhang has been the more active fighter of late and even though Jędrzejczyk will have the higher output of strikes, this could be her undoing as she may tire out earlier. The pick here is Zhang to have her hand raised after 15 minutes.