RIZIN light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka recently became a free agent and has decided to take his talents to the UFC.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed with Prochazka’s manager and trainer Martin Karaivanov that the 27-year-old Czech Republic native nicknamed “Denisa” has signed an exclusive deal with the UFC. He obviously had to vacate the RIZIN light heavyweight title in order to sign with the UFC.
On paper, this looks like an incredible signing for the UFC as many consider Prochazka one of the best light heavyweights that wasn’t on the UFC roster up until this point. For months, there had been speculation that Prochazka could sign with Bellator to fight Bellator light heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader. That won’t happen now that Prochazka has signed with the UFC, where he will not be chasing UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones instead.
Prochazka (26-3-1) is a true knockout artist with 23 of his victories coming by way of TKO. He is currently riding an impressive 10-fight win streak which includes victories over CB Dollaway, Fabio Maldonado, Muhammad Lawal, Brandon Halsey, Satoshi Ishii, Vadim Nemkov, and PRIDE legend Kazuyuki Fujita. For a fighter who has never been in a major promotion in the United States that is one fantastic resume.
Considering his pedigree, look for Prochazka to get a top-15 opponent in his first fight in the UFC. Looking at the rankings, he could potentially fight someone such as Volkan Oezdemir or Glover Teixeira if the UFC just wants to go ahead and throw him in the fire right away. Or perhaps he could fight someone ranked a bit lower such as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua or Misha Cirkunov. Either way, look for Prochazka to get every opportunity to prove that he is indeed a top light heavyweight in MMA.
Who do you want the UFC to match Jiri Prochazka up against in his Octagon debut?