Jiri Prochazka returns at UFC 295 after shoulder injury
Nearly a year after suffering the worst shoulder injury the UFC has ever seen, Jiri Prochazka returns to the Octagon to vie for the UFC light heavyweight championship — again. Prochazka dethroned ex-champ Glover Teixeira via rear-naked choke at UFC 275 in ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate in June. The pair was scheduled for an immediate rematch at UFC 282 in December, however, ‘Denisa’ was forced to withdraw after injuring his shoulder during a training session. Rather than stall the division, he opted to vacate — with one exception. He gets to fight whoever has the title in his return.
Though the promotion followed through on that, Prochazka is not facing Jamahal Hill, the most recent title holder until he also vacated due to injury. Instead, the 31-year-old fights Alex Pereira in the newly minted headliner of UFC 295 this Saturday.
Daniel Cormier sees ring rust playing a factor in Prochazka‘s performance
As expected, there are some concerns on what Jiri Prochazka shows up for his fight against Alex Pereira, especially after such a long layoff.
Former two-division UFC champ and current UFC color commentator Daniel Cormier has some insights into this kind of thing, having suffered quite a few injuries in his own athletic career.
“He has not been here long, so for him to have been UFC champion in such a short period of time tells you how special of a talent he is,” said Cormier during an episode of DC & RC. “But with him winning as he did, it was a lot of frequency that he was in the Octagon. I believe that the consistency helped him to where he was able to get that UFC championship belt. I think that this layoff is going to hurt him.
“But for Jiri, it’s got to feel like playing with the house’s money because he was supposed to be gone for another four months,” continued Cormier. “Eighteen months, he got hurt last year. This guy is back in 15 months. They were saying 18 months until he was able to do anything. It was going to be a long injury.
“So now he’s back fighting for the belt, but I do believe that this ring rust is going to play a factor, especially early. Alex Pereira has been very active.”
Prochazka doesn‘t have the same concerns as Cormier
For his part, Jiri Prochazka isn’t worried about ring rust, cage rust or any kind of rust.
“For me this week, laser focus,” said Prochazka during his UFC 295 media day on Wednesday (video provided by TheMacLife). “For me, it’s about laser focus for the performance on the event night. t’s not just about me; it’s just about my opponent, too. Which performance and how good the performance of my opponent will be, that will be mine. Every time I adjust, and I am better every time than my opponents, trying to be in every moment. I like to have a good opponent because my opponent’s performance pushes my performance.”
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