Alex Pereira retains belt with TKO of Jiri Prochazka at UFC 303

LAS VEGAS — The legend of Poatan continues to grow.

Alex Pereira (11-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) scored a brutal second-round knockout over Jirí Prochazka (30-5-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) with a devastating head kick and brutal follow-up strikes to retain his light heavyweight championship in the main event of UFC 303 at T-Mobile Arena.

The rematch between the two, who met last November with Pereira winning via second-round TKO, happened much sooner than expected as both were called into action on two weeks notice after Conor McGregor was forced out of his main event showdown with Michael Chandler due to a broken toe.

Both fighters had competed at UFC 300 and had scored impressive knockout victories in their respective fights, with Prochazka defeating Aleksandar Rakic ​​and Pereira impressively dispatching Jamahal Hill in defense of his title. Both came away with little damage, but a pair of broken toes was the only thing that kept Pereira from taking the fight.

Apparently, those broken fingers would hit Prochazka’s head in the rematch and put an end to the rivalry.

“I didn’t know how I was going to win, but I knew I was going to leave this octagon happy,” Pereira said through an interpreter.

The fight was a puncher’s paradise in the first round, with Pereira landing leg kicks and Prochazka finding success with the left hook and using his clumsy movement to create space. But Prochazka played too close to the sun and ran into Pereira’s trademark left hook, which sent him to the canvas at the end of the round. Although he tried to show that he was unharmed, Prochazka’s legs said otherwise as he staggered towards his corner.

Pereira smelled blood in the water and wasted no time in finishing the job. He opened the second round by unleashing a violent kick to the head that sent the Czech fighter to the canvas again. But this time there would be no bell to save him as Pereira’s next punches finished the job just 13 seconds into the round.

What Pereira has been able to accomplish in two short years is nothing short of extraordinary. He captured the UFC middleweight championship in just over a year after his promotional debut by knocking out Israel Adesanya and added the light heavyweight title a year after that when he defeated Prochazka.

With another successful defense under his belt, could Pereira pursue an unprecedented championship in a third heavyweight division?

“I think that’s part of my future,” Pereira said. “I say it a lot. I’m here, I’m available and I think that’s part of my future.”

A fight with current heavyweight champion Jon Jones could be the biggest fight going in the UFC right now, and it’s clear that Pereira wants to continue doing the unthinkable during his remarkable streak. But with Jones scheduled to face Stipe Miocic later this year, a fight with Pereira might have to wait.

For now, the world of MMA is in the palm of your hand.

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