Fans in Singapore saw two competitive title fights on Saturday at the top of the card for UFC 275, with Jiri Prochazka and Valentina Shevchenko walking away with championship gold at the end of the night.
Prochazka scored a fifth-round submission with just 28 seconds remaining in the main event to beat Glover Teixeira and win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Prochazka beats Teixeira in all-out war
The fight saw both men take extensive punishment over the course of nearly 25 minutes. The fight started with Teixeira using his wrestling skills to take Prochazka to the ground and land heavy shots from the mount position.
Yet Prochazka (29-3-1) survived the early barrage and mounted an offense of his own starting in the second round. Both men dropped the other, with Teixeira opening a bad cut over Prochazka’s left eye toward the end of the round. The back-and-forth action continued through the third and fourth rounds as well.
By the fifth round, Teixeira – the older fighter by 13 years – was clearly tiring. Yet he still attacked Prochazka, landing a combination before attempting to finish the fight with a guillotine choke. Prochazka escaped, but Teixeira again took the mount with under two minutes remaining. Prochazka escaped one more time, landing a rear-naked choke that Teixeira couldn’t solve.
“I gave my all,” Teixeira said afterwards. “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”
Teixeira (33-8) could have retained his title if he managed to hold out until the end of the round. He led on two scorecards – one by two points – and was tied on another heading into the final round. Yet the war continued, with Prochazka winning the final battle.
“I’m ready to end it first or fifth round, doesn’t matter,” Prochazka said after his win. “Doesn’t matter which technique … that came naturally. I just watched the moment, what opportunity is before me.”
After the fight, Teixeira dismissed talk of an imminent retirement.
“Do I look 42 out there?” he asked. “I’m gonna keep going.”
Shevchenko retains title by split decision
Valentina Shevchenko is still the UFC women’s flyweight champion, but she faced one of the toughest challenges to her reign on Saturday night.
Taila Santos (19-2) gave Shevchenko (23-3) everything she could handle before falling by split decision in a fight that could have gone either way.
Two judges awarded Shevchenko the victory by scores of 49-46 and 48-47, while a third scored it 48-47 in favor of Santos. MMADecisions.com collected 27 media scorecards, 19 of which indicated Shevchenko as the winner.
“When you’ve finished a fight, every time you find something to improve,” Shevchenko said afterwards. “I did everything. I left my heart in this Octagon. I can tell everyone, fans of MMA, I left my heart in here.”
Santos suffered a broken right orbital bone in the fight. She and Shevchenko clashed heads multiple times during the fight, causing significant swelling around Santos’ right eye.