The vacant light heavyweight title was up for grabs in the marquee bout at Madison Square Garden in New York. After a very competitive opening frame, Alex Pereira put the finishing touches on Prochazka in Round 2. It was a knockout stoppage by referee Marc Goddard that immediately drew criticism from the UFC commentary team and some offering their opinions on social media.
The ending sequence saw Prochazka get stunned with a hard punch, prompting him to shoot in for a takedown. While Prochazka was in on the hips, Pereira countered with hard elbows to the side of the head, causing Prochazka to fall backward to the canvas. Goddard rushed in to stop the fight as Prochazka’s back hit the mat with Pereira over him.
During his in-cage interview with Joe Rogan, Prochazka did not offer any complaints about the timing of the stoppage.
“I think that in that end, it was right,” Prochazka said. “I was out, but you know I will never stop.”
Prochazka has displayed his incredible toughness and perseverance throughout his UFC career. Perhaps the most notable example was in his previous outing in MMA Junkie’s 2022 Fight of the Year against Glover Teixeira at UFC 275. It was a grueling drag-out war that saw both fighters take their share of heavy damage. Ultimately, Prochazka found his way to a submission victory in the final round to claim the light heavyweight title. Goddard was also the referee for that fight.
In Saturday’s fight against Pereira, Prochazka was on the receiving end of a series of hard strikes that led him to fall to his back. Despite the reaction from onlookers, the man on the receiving end of the strikes did not complain about Goddard’s decision to step in. Instead, he immediately reflected on the loss as a teachable moment for his future fights.
“F*ck, sh*t happened,” Prochazka said. “Doesn’t matter. For me, it’s big learn. Let’s work on that and be back stronger than ever. But now, thank you Alex. Thank you for this fight. Big learn for me from that fight. I’ll be back.”
Prochazka later released a video on Instagram, in which he thanked his fans for his support. The former light heavyweight champion also promised to have a triumphant return to action in the near future.
“This is for me just a motivation, nothing else,” Prochazka said. “Marc Goddard was right. Maybe two, three more seconds and it would be a different way, but what happened, happened. I accept that. Watch me now. I’ll be back stronger than ever. Thank you for your support.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 295.