Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka early preview and prediction

Glover Teixeira faces a tough challenge in Jiri Prochazka for the 205-pound title.

Glover Teixeira’s first defense of his UFC light heavyweight championship is set as he will do battle against Jiri Prochazka at UFC 274 on Saturday, May 7, according to ESPN.

Teixeira’s victory over Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 was an understandably shocking moment for viewers, but still, one that felt good for those that know his overarching story through mixed martial arts. Even fans of Blachowicz couldn’t help but smile for one of the few good guys in the industry. But it’s time to get back to action as Teixeira prepares for his first title defense against a very dangerous challenger.

Controlling where the fight happens is the theme of this story for both men. Teixeira’s abilities as a grappler are well-known, but he also has the skills to do damage on the feet. With 18 of his 33 wins coming by some form of knockout stoppage, this isn’t an area where he lacks. What’s worth noting is that at this UFC level, the majority of those knockout stoppages are of the TKO variety, where Teixeira is putting an overwhelming beating on an opponent from an advantageous position that he earned by grappling to control the position.

That ability to control positioning via grappling is a clear strength for Teixeira, but it’s also one that will put him in a place of danger against Prochazka.

WhatProchazka does and does well is separate men from consciousness. 25 of his 28 victories are from a knockout stoppage. His last 10 fights ended with a flash of violence leading to a finish. This is the threat that Prochazka brings to this fight for the title because he only needs a second and range to send an opponent on a downward spiral toward defeat.

This is the biggest advantage that Prochazka will bring to this fight at UFC 274. Every round of the fight starts in a position where he will have the advantage. But will he be able to capitalize on that moment?

Looking at Teixeira’s run-up to becoming the champion there’s a noticeable trend in the number of significant strikes he absorbs. According to FightMetric, he takes 3.83 strikes per minute. But look closely at stats specific to his last six fights. Teixeira was able to “out strike” his opponent in two of those battles, the victories over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. Both individuals he dominated on the mat while assaulting them with strikes.

Compare that to the fights where he couldn’t score a takedown and there’s a stark difference; Teixeira gets out-pointed on the feet. He can’t afford to do that against Prochazka who has a skill set of causing a shocking amount of damage quickly, rarely allowing the space for recovery. If Teixeira is hurt early in this contest, he will not get the opportunity to grind the fight to a halt while he recovers. Prochazka will be all over him looking to end the battle. Yes, Teixeira’s ability to close the distance and secure strong positioning on the ground for the finish is world-class, but he will have to do that for twenty-five minutes to keep the championship.

The outcome

Expect both men to stick to their game plans, with Prochazka choosing range and Teixeira looking to close the distance. Watch for Prochazka lands often and early, bringing a sudden end to a new champion at 205-pounds.

Prediction: Jiri Prochazka via stoppage.

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