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Injured Prochazka Vacates Title; Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev Elevated to UFC 282 Main Event



A severe shoulder injury suffered in training has prompted Jiri Prochazka to exit the UFC 282 headliner and vacate his light heavyweight belt.

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As a result, a 205-pound clash pitting Jan Blachowicz against Magomed Ankalaev has been elevated to the UFC 282 main event on Dec. 10 after Glover Teixeira, Prochazka’s original opponent, declined to accept a title fight against a new adversary. Yahoo Sports was first to report the changes at the top of the UFC 282 card. Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev will be for the vacant 205-pound championship.

According to ESPN, Prochazka’s injury will keep him out of action for up to a year. The former Rizin champion decided to vacate the belt out of respect to the other contenders in the light heavyweight division. Prochazka claimed the crown by rallying for a fifth-round submission of Teixiera in the UFC 275 main event on June 12 — his 13th consecutive victory as a pro.

"It was actually Jiri's decision," Prochazka’s manager, Tim Simpson, told ESPN. "He has a samurai way of life, and once he knew how long he would be out, he said, 'I must respect the other fighters and let them fight for the belt.' He believes they can have the belt but he will still be the champion."

Blachowicz has won six of his last seven Octagon appearances, with his lone defeat coming in a championship loss against Teixeira at UFC 267. He returned to the win column against Aleksandar Rakic at UFC on ESPN 36 when his opponent suffered a knee injury in the third round of their May 14 bout. His resume includes victories over the likes of Israel Adesanya, Dominick Reyes, Corey Anderson, Ronaldo Souza, Luke Rockhold, Nikita Krylov and Jared Cannonier, to name a few.

Ankalaev will bring a nine-fight winning streak into the matchup with Blachowicz. His 2022 campaign thus far has included a five-round verdict over Thiago Santos at UFC Fight Night 203 and a second-round TKO of Anthony Smith at UFC 277.

Prochazka later released a statement on the situation via Instagram:

I am very disappointed to announce that I will not be defending my belt at UFC 282. I was injured in training in Las Vegas while finishing my preparation for my title defense in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. I injured my shoulder and surgery is required which will put me out of action for at least six months. “Knowing this information, I have decided, after consulting with UFC management, that due to this time constraint, I will not hold [up] the light heavyweight division and will vacate the title. I will go for the UFC belt as soon as the doctors give me the green light to fight. I’m going to go for the belt and I’m going to get it no matter who currently holds it. It’s always been the most important thing for me to put on the best performance and compare myself to the best. Let the best show no matter who’s there now. “I’ll be back in six months and I’ll take the title whoever holds it. I apologize to my fans, friends, family who bought tickets and made plans to come to Las Vegas to support me, it means a lot to me. I also want to apologize to Glover. Victory!

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