NEW YORK — For the second time in a year, Alex Pereira has won a UFC championship at Madison Square Garden. On Saturday in the main event of UFC 295, he won the light heavyweight belt when he stopped Jiri Prochazka with a short left uppercut and some ground-and-pound at 4:08 of the second round.
Pereira stopped Israel Adesanya in the final round of their middleweight title fight in 2022 at UFC 281. He lost the belt back to Adesanya in a rematch in Miami, Florida, at UFC 287, and moved to light heavyweight.
He appeared more comfortable at light heavyweight, not having to shed so much weight, but he still carried enormous power.
Prochazka began the closing sequence with a right hand that stung Pereira and moved him back to the cage. He landed a left uppercut that dropped Prochazka and then finished him, forcing referee Marc Godard to waive it off.
He’s the eighth fighter to win championships in two weight classes in the UFC, following Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Georges St-Pierre, Amanda Nunes and Henry Cejudo.
Pereira, one of the hardest hitters in the sport, spent much of the fight circling away from Prochazka, who had won the title in 2022 when he submitted Pereira’s coach, Glover Teixeira, at UFC 275 in the Fight of the Year.
Prochazka hadn’t fought since injuring his shoulder a year ago, an injury UFC CEO Dana White said at the time was one of the worst his doctors had seen.
Prochazka had no complaints about the finish and said, “I was out.” It was a disappointment for him after having worked so hard to rehabilitate the injury. He looked good and was, for the most part, controlling the action until Pereira’s uppercut ended it.
That’s the trouble when you attack a slugger, you risk going out quickly and that’s what happened to the heavy-handed Czech.