The old guy who has been contemplating retirement and the newcomer in just his third bout in the promotion combined in the main event of UFC 275 for one of the best, most exciting and most unpredictable fights in MMA history.
Veteran Glover Teixeira, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, was hurting Jiri Prochazka throughout the fifth round and seemingly on his way to a decision victory.
Teixeira had Prochazka pinned in the final minute and was blasting him with shots. But Prochazka managed to reverse, got Teixeira’s back and choked him out at 4:32 of the fifth round to win the light heavyweight title Saturday at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Teixeira was ahead on the scorecards at the time of the submission. Judge Ben Cartlidge had Teixeira 39-37, while Clemens Werner had Teixeira, 38-37. Mike Bell had it 38-38. Yahoo Sports had Teixeira 39-37 after four.
Teixeira was clearly ahead in the fifth until the dramatic, final-seconds reversal that led to his submission win. Prochazka apologized for his performance, though no one could understand why. It was fighting and heart at the highest level of the sport and both men covered themselves in glory.
“I never thought, and that’s why it’s good not to think in a fight,” Prochazka said when asked if he ever imagined winning by submission. “I am sorry. I will show a better performance. Sorry for that. I’ll be better next time.”
It ranks up there with the greatest fights in UFC history and considering the drama, what was at stake and the momentum changes, it has to be among the small handful of the greatest fights ever, if not the best.
Teixeira fought with amazing stamina and heart and while the conventional wisdom was that he’d win if it were on the ground and Prochazka would win the stand-up, Teixeira excelled in all positions.
“I gave it my all,” Teixeira said. “When you live by the sword, sometimes you die by the sword. He was hitting me with body shots and I’ll be honest with you, he was taking my gas away.”
It was a spectacular card that ended with one of the most spectacular fights ever, and Teixeira kept the good times rolling even after the fight. He had mused about retirement, but when asked what he would do next, he said, “I’ll keep going.”
They both kept going through nearly 25 minutes of fighting Saturday and it was a fight that everyone who saw it will remember forever.