After taking out Jiri Prochazka via second-round TKO to win the light heavyweight title, Alex Pereira became the ninth fighter in UFC history to win a two-weight world championship.
The former middleweight champion, who made his UFC debut in 2021 at Madison Square Garden, left his imprint at the New York arena once more.
The finish, however, was not without controversy. In their commentary, Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan both claimed that referee Marc Goddard had signaled a premature finish.
Both Pereira and the elegant Prochazka, who acknowledged being “out” after being dropped by a vicious left hook but said he would have continued regardless, were adamant that it was the correct decision to make following the bout.
“In the end I think it was right. I was out. But I will never stop… s*** happens. It doesn’t matter,” Prochazka said.
what a class act, jiri prochazka making no excuses pic.twitter.com/nPASQxc1yj
— Dovy🔌 (@DovySimuMMA) November 12, 2023
“No I’m not surprised,” Pereira said when asked about the stoppage post-fight.
Later on, Pereira sent a challenge to Israel Adesanya, his middleweight competitor, to advance to the light heavyweight class.
“Hey Adesanya, come to daddy,” he said.
The next match, though, is probably going to be against Jamahal Hill, who was forced to give up his light heavyweight title after suffering an injury.
Returning to the bout itself, Pereira sent Prochazka reeling early in the opening frame with a forceful leg kick and then sent his opponent reeling again not long after. And still another. And still another.
The deft Pereira continued to successfully land leg kicks on Prochazka, restricting the Czech fighter’s range of motion.
Before the final bell rang, Prochazka had managed to take down Pereira early in the first round. He then worked on the ground, landing several strong shots, until Pereira managed to stand up with 20 seconds remaining.
Given his success with the leg kicks, Pereira maintained his composure and conservative style after the takedown, not to panic or expose himself to significant harm in order to improve his chances of winning the opening round.
Early in the second round, Pereira immediately resumed his leg kicks, which again compromised Prochazka’s range of motion.
But midway through the round, Prochazka came to life, backing Pereira all the way to the fence, though the Brazilian managed to survive that exchange.
Prochazka appeared to be heating up when Pereira dropped him out of nowhere, rocking him first with his right hand and then dropping him to the canvas with his left hook.
Referee Marc Goddard intervened to stop the fight when Pereira continued his assault with a barrage of punches and elbows to the head.
“It felt a little fast, I’m not going to lie to you because Yuri got up pretty quick,” Cormier said.
“I’m not satisfied with that stoppage,” added Rogan, who admitted Prochazka looked “hurt” but was not convinced he was finished at that point.
Ultimately, only the fighter himself knew the true outcome, as Prochazka declared himself “out” following the bout, and Pereira secured the thrilling finish to cap off an intense main program.