The UFC 282 main event has been scrapped after UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka suffered a significant injury to his right shoulder, forcing him to not only pull out of his title defence versus Glover Teixeira, but also to vacate his belt.
According to Yahoo Sports, the UFC has already secured a new main event, with former champion Jan Blachowicz facing off against Dagestani contender Magomed Ankalaev for the UFC light heavyweight championship next month at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
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Tim Simpson, Prochazka’s manager, told Yahoo Sports: “The shoulder got wrecked in a standard wrestling accident type of thing.”
Simpson said the injury occurred at the UFC Performance Institute. He said it popped out and someone popped it back in.
“You know how shoulders are, right?” Simpson said.
“It pops out and a lot of the time, you pop it right back in. There was a wait and it popped out. And you never really know with a shoulder until you dig into it.”
Simpson said the team was in the process of determining when and where the surgery would take place.
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UFC president Dana White said the doctors told him that the injury is extensive.
“This is the worst shoulder injury the doctors have seen in UFC history,” White said.
“It’s really f***ing bad. His shoulder is very, very bad. He’s going to have serious surgery that will require extensive rehab.”
Prochazka won the title from Teixeira at UFC 275 on June 11 in Singapore. He submitted Teixeira with a rear naked choke with 28 seconds left in a match that is a front-runner for Fight of the Year.
White said former champion Teixeira was offered the opportunity to fight for the vacant belt against Ankalaev, but in a strange twist, the 43-year-old turned it down and so the UFC moved onto booking Blachowicz v Ankalaev.
“We met with Jiri last night and listen, this guy is one of the classiest humans of all-time,” White said.
“He is such a warrior and was so bummed out. He brought up stepping aside to us before we ever got there. He’s going to be out a long time and at some point, we would probably have had to strip him. But he brought it up to us and said out of respect for the other fighters, he didn’t want to hold up the division. Let me tell you, that kid’s a stud, man, to react like that.
“We offered Glover the fight [against Ankalaev]. For some reason, he didn’t want the fight, so we had to move on. If we couldn’t have the rematch, getting Ankalaev, who has the second-longest winning streak in light heavyweight history, and Blachowicz, who is the former champion, is really fortunate. It all fell into place for us as it often seems to do. But that’s a great fight, too, and now it’s for the full title.”
Blachowicz, 39, is ranked No. 2 and Ankalaev, 30, is No. 3 in the UFC’s current light heavyweight rankings.
Ankalaev is 18-1 overall and has won nine in a row in the UFC since his only career defeat, a triangle choke submission loss to Paul Craig on March 17, 2018, in London in his UFC debut.
Blachowicz is the former UFC champion who lost his belt to Teixeira in Abu Dhabi at UFC 267 on Oct. 30, 2021. The Polish veteran returned to win one fight, defeating Aleksandar Rakic via TKO on May 14 in Las Vegas. Rakic suffered a knee injury which forced the end of that bout.
The new co-main event at UFC 282 is a lightweight fight between rising prospect Paddy Pimblett (19-3) and Jared Gordon (19-5).
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