By Charlie Erdman
On June 11th, the UFC will host its sixth Pay-Per-View of the year, UFC 275. The action will take place in Singapore, marking the UFC’s first Pay-Per-View event in Southeast Asia. The fight card is stacked with talent from top to bottom which includes the Light Heavyweight and Women’s Flyweight Championship bouts. With the UFC making the journey to Singapore, top-tier Asian talent will be on display as Danaa Batgerel, Seung Woo Choi, and more return to the octagon. One of the most notable names is former strawweight champ Zhang Weili. More than two years since Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk produced the greatest fight in UFC women’s history, the two rivals are set to return for part two.
The main event of the evening pins two of the most dangerous man on the planet against one another. UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Glover Teixeira will defend his belt for the first time against surging Light Heavyweight title challenger Jiří Procházka. This title fight is a unique one, with amazing storylines on each side. Current champ Glover Teixeira has reached the pinnacle of the sport at the age of 42. Twenty years into his professional mixed martial arts career, Glover has beaten the odds on his road to glory and seeks to yet again shock the world as an underdog against title challenger Jiří Procházka. As a rising title contender in the UFC, Procházka has his own story. After twenty-nine fights to begin his career, Procházka finally signed with the UFC. With a 96% finishing rate (23 KO’s out of 26 wins entering the UFC), Procházka punched his way through the top ranks of the Light Heavyweight division with brutal knockouts over top contenders Dominick Reyes and Volkan Oezdemir. After his sensational start in the UFC, Procházka earned the Light Heavyweight title fight only two fights into his UFC career. A classic matchup between striker and grappler, Glover Teixeira and Jiří Procházka are set to battle it out for UFC Light Heavyweight gold.
Defending his belt for the first time at the ripe old age of 42, Glover Teixeira strives to continue his historic run. Currently, on six-fight win streak with five wins coming by way of finish, Glover has beaten the whos who of the Light Heavyweight division to capture UFC Gold. On his current win streak, Glover has submitted Light Heavyweight contenders Ion Cutelaba and Karl Roberson. He then won a decision over dangerous finisher Nikita Krylov and then amassed a remarkable win over former Light Heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith. The Smith fight was a brutal display of Glover’s lethal ground game and his overall knowledge of the sport. Glover battered Smith for five straight rounds before referee Jason Herzog stepped in and stopped the beating, giving Glover a fifth-round TKO victory. After his remarkable performance against Anthony Smith, Glover took on former countrymen and title challenger Thiago “Marreta” Santos. Santos who is known for his brutal power and tenacity entered the bout as a solid favorite on the betting lines. Motivated to prove the doubters wrong, Glover battled through adversity early and went on to collect an impressive rear-naked choke finish over Santos. After this incredible run, the UFC finally granted Glover a title shot against then-Champ Jan Blachowicz. Entering the fight as an even bigger favorite than Santos was against Glover, the public expected Jan to continue dominating his opposition with his renowned “Polish Power”. Grateful for his shot at UFC Gold, Glover Teixeira took advantage of his opportunity and dominated then-Champ Jan Blachowicz by earning a second-round rear-naked choke submission. “OH MY GOSH! Glover Teixeira breaks through! AT 42! He is the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion! Teixeira has DONE IT! UNREAL!” UFC broadcaster Jon Anik shouted, right after Glover’s win. In the greatest moment of his mixed-martial-arts career, Glover could only help but smile.
Now set to defend his belt for the first time, Glover is matched up with arguably the most dangerous test of late, knockout artist Jiří Procházka. Czech Republic native Jiří Procházka offers a unique approach to MMA with devastating power and a funky samurai-esque mentality. Jiří enters the title fight only two bouts into his UFC career after leaving former title challengers Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes unconscious in the second round of each fight. Likely looking to use his ground game, Glover Teixeira looks to shut down the hype of Jiří Procházka and remain the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Champ.
Surging Light Heavyweight Title challenger Jiří Procházka has made a splash during his short spell in the UFC. Earning two viral knockouts over legitimate competition. On Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Jiří Procházka entered his debut bout in the UFC on a ten fight win streak with nine of those wins by way of knockout. Making his transition from legendary Japanese MMA promotion Rizin Fighting Federation, Procházka made his debut against former Light Heavyweight title challenger Volkan Oezdemir. Entering the bout with a record of 26-3-1, with 25 wins via finish (23 KO’s & 2 Submissions), Jiří and his prolific 96% finish rate sought to make an impact on the big stage. Listed as an underdog on the betting lines, Jiří left no stones unturned. After a back and fourth first-round, Jiří picked up the pace to start the second round. After wobbling Oezdemir with a lead leg head kick, Jiří closed the show. Closing the distance and forcing Oezdemir to circle up against the fence, Jiří lands a massive straight right to remove Volkan Oezdemir from consciousness. After this stunning knockout Jiří positioned himself well to receive a title eliminator fight against a top contender.
A few months after the Oezdemir fight, Jiří got his fight. His opponent would be none other than top contender Dominick Reyes. Fresh off back-to-back title fights, Reyes was in need of a win after dropping his last two. Prior to his losses, Reyes began his MMA career to the tune of an undefeated record of 12-0. Jiří, however, had no plans of losing as he sought to push his win streak to twelve in a row. Both men entered the fight at a pick’em line of -110 (50/50 coin toss fight) on the betting lines. As the action got underway, it was clear that both men were willing to do whatever it took to get the win. Reyes and Jiří connected hard and traded lethal shots for the entirety of the first round. Jiří ruthlessly walked forward to pressure Reyes and landed the flusher shots, presumably winning the first round. Entering the second, both men bloodied and breathing heavy, this war was just beginning. After a brutal series of punches, kicks, and elbows from both men, Reyes wobbles Jiří hard with a clean left hook midway into the second round. Shooting for a desperation takedown, Jiří gets caught in an attempted guillotine choke. After breathing and focusing, Jiří gets out of the choke. In an attempt to get to his feet, Jiří gets hit by a beautiful up-kick from Reyes. Wobbled but still fighting, Jiří gets up for the last 45 seconds of the second round and pours on an array of attacks. Emptying the tank and looking for damage, Jiří weaves and dodges out of Reyes’ attack. Pushing forward and circling Reyes against the cage, Jiří lands a plethora of elbows and then seals the deal in jaw dropping fashion. After landing a right elbow, Jiří turns into a spinning left elbow from hell! “JIRI PROCHAZKA! This is an ominous presence coming to you from the Czech Republic, who ends it with a spinning elbow KNOCKOUT! Jiří Procházka is FOR REAL ladies and gentlemen,” said UFC announcer Brendan Fitzgerald. Jiří had just put on not only one of the fights of the year but the Knockout of the Year. Dropping Reyes face first into the canvas. After this legendary performance, UFC President Dana White and company had no other choice but to give Jiří the next title shot. With his unique abilities, Jiří Procházka is keen on becoming the first ever UFC champ from the Czech Republic and he is more than ready to do so.
In the co-main event, women’s Flyweight G.O.A.T. Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko will defend her belt against number four ranked contender Taila Santos. Coming into the bout on an eight-fight win streak, Valentina has dominated her opposition with five finishes in those eight wins. These include TKOs over Jessica Andrade, Lauren Murphy, and Katlyn Chookagian. Valentina is tied for the record of most consecutive title defenses, seven, among female fighters. Perhaps the most impressive feat is that none of her title defenses were close. Valentina has dominated her opposition from start to finish and looks to do just that against Taila Santos at UFC 275.
Brazilian title challenger Taila Santos comes into her first UFC title fight as a solid underdog against the dangerous Valentina Shevchenko. Coming into the UFC as a talented undefeated prospect, Santos lost her debut via split decision against journeywomen Mara Romero Borrela. After this disappointing performance, Santos has gone on to dominate her opposition and is currently on a four-fight win streak. With wins over contenders Molly McCann, Gillian Robertson, and Roxanne Modafferi, Santos was given a main card fight against talented contender Joanne Wood. Displaying her skilled grappling abilities, Santos dominated Wood and wrapped up a rear-naked choke finish near the end of the first round. Moving to 19-1 with this impressive win, Santos set herself up for a title shot. On June 11th, she will have her chance to capture UFC gold and shock the mixed martial arts world with a win over the number one ranked female pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Valentina Shevchenko.
Other exciting fights on the main card include talented the Welterweight showdown between Australian prospect Jack Della Maddalena and Russian veteran Ramazan Emeev and the Flyweight contest between Brazilian contender Rogerio Bontorin and Portugese contender Manel Kape. Noteworthy fights on the prelim card include surging welterweight Andre Fialho against Jake Matthews and the featherweight showdown between Korean Seung-Woo Choi and Aussie Joshua Culibao.
Jiří Procházka def. Glover Teixeira via 2nd-round Knockout
Valentina Shevchenko def. Taila Santos via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)
Joanna Jędrzejczyk def. Zhang Weili via Split Decision (48-47, 49-46, 47-48)
Rogerio Bontorin def. Manel Kape via 3rd-round Submission
Jack Della Maddalena def. Ramazan Emeev via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Brendan Allen def. Jacob Malkoun via 2nd-round TKO
Seung-Woo Choi def. Joshua Culibao via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
The action will take place on ESPN+, ESPN 2, and ESPN+ Pay-Per-View. The early preliminary card begins at 3:30 pm PT on ESPN+, the preliminary card begins at 5 pm PT on ESPN 2, and the main card will begin at 7 pm PT on PPV. Enjoy the festivities!