The Real Winners and Losers From UFC 275

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIIJune 12, 2022

The Real Winners and Losers From UFC 275

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    Another week, another continent.

    The UFC traveled from last week's show in the Nevada desert to a subsequent Saturday on the Southeast Asian coastline with a visit to Singapore Indoor Stadium for an 11-bout card headlined by a pair of championship matches.

    Ageless light heavyweight Glover Teixeira headlined the five-bout pay-per-view portion of the show billed as UFC 275 with a defense against second-ranked 205-pound striking specialist Jirí Prochazka. Meanwhile, handling the second part of the title doubleheader was flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko, who faced fourth-ranked challenger Taila Santos.

    ESPN+ handled broadcasting duties with a three-man announce team of Jon Anik, Michael Bisping and Daniel Cormier, while Megan Olivi worked the periphery with feature pieces and breaking news for a show that was shown during mid-morning local time.

    The B/R combat sports team was on the clock for its definitive list of the show's winners and losers. and we invite you to scroll through, see what we came up with and drop a viewpoint or two of your own in the comments.

Winner: Doing the Impossible

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    It really shouldn’t have happened.

    Because no one who looked like Jirí Prochazka, both exhausted from his first trip to the fifth round and bleeding from a long jagged cut above his left eye, should have been able to do what he did.

    But he did. And he’s got a shiny new belt to show for it.

    The Czech fighter earned the UFC’s light heavyweight championship in his first title-fight opportunity, fighting through a gritty 42-year-old Glover Teixeira to score a dramatic rear-naked choke submission with just 28 seconds remaining.

    “That fight from start to finish was legendary,” Cormier said. “It had everything from start to finish, and you know it’s going straight to the Hall of Fame. It will go down in history books as one of the best.”

    The punishment each man sustained left him cut and bloody, but the violence was perhaps surpassed by the drama because Prochazka was likely on his way to a scorecard loss had he not gotten the finish.

    One judge had Teixeira up 39-37, another had it 38-37, and a third had it 38-38 at the time of the stoppage. Had the now-former champion won the last round, which he appeared to be on his way to doing before Prochazka scrambled to gain the submission position, he’d have retained the belt.

    Teixeira had him badly hurt early in the fifth and got him to the mat with about two minutes remaining, but the challenger kicked off the fence to gain position, then snaked his right arm under his opponent’s chin to draw the submission at 4:32.

    “I’m ready to end it in the first or fifth round,” he said. “It doesn’t matter when, and it doesn’t matter which technique. It came naturally. I waited for the moment and what opportunity was before me. It’s amazing. It was a true war. Glover is a true warrior. And I like that.”

Winner: Just Squeaking By

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    Whew. That was close.

    Though Valentina Shevchenko entered the night as a prohibitive favorite against fourth-ranked challenger Taila Santos, she had to endure several takedowns and fight off a handful of submission attempts to get past the determined Brazilian by a split decision in their five-round co-main event.

    Shevchenko was a 48-47 winner on one card and a 49-46 victor on another, while Santos was given a dissenting 48-47 score on a third. B/R’s card matched the initial tally with a 48-47 nod for the champion.

    The near-miss came 184 days after Amanda Nunes—the only fighter to beat Shevchenko in the last 12 years—lost her bantamweight title in a shocking upset to Julianna Pena.

    “It was super hard,” Shevchenko said. “I’m never satisfied with my performances, but I left my heart in this Octagon tonight. I expected to grapple and strike, and she was very strong.”

    Indeed, Santos set the tone in the opening round when the fight went to the floor after a failed Shevchenko throw. Instead, the challenger made several attempts to secure rear-naked chokes and neck cranks. She was on top when things went horizontal again in Round 2 but wasn’t able to advance the position, and the fighters were stood up by referee Jason Herzog midway through the round.

    Another set of choke attempts came in the third as Santos took advantage during grappling exchanges, but she sustained heavy damage to her right eye from an accidental head clash late in the round, and she looked tired as Shevchenko zeroed in with strikes through the fourth and into the fifth.

    The crowd booed the decision, but Santos didn’t rant.

    “I can’t complain about decisions or anything, and this is not the last time you’re going to see me fight for a belt,” she said. “I’m ready for the next one. I couldn’t really see. I saw two Valentinas, and I tried to hit the one in the middle.”

Loser: Going Out on Top

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    Former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk was hoping for two things.

    First, she wanted a win to avenge a loss at the hands of Zhang Weili in their classic first fight 27 months ago. And second, she wanted that win to get her back into the title picture in a weight class she'd ruled from 2015 to 2017.

    Instead, she left the arena as both former champion and a former fighter.

    The 34-year-old from Poland was on the receiving end of perhaps the show's most brutal KO via a spinning back fist that sent her face-first to the floor and abruptly ended the rematch at 2:28 of the second round. And moments later, as she spoke to Cormier, she announced her retirement as an active fighter after 10 years as a professional.

    "This is what people come to MMA shows to see, and I was trying to do that to her," she said. "I was prepared for a tough fight, and I'm so sorry I let you down.

    "But it's been 20 years. I've been training and fighting for more than half my life. I'm turning 35 this year, and that's enough."

    As for Weili, she'll more than likely go ahead and get the title shot against current champion Carla Esparza and a chance to regain a belt she possessed from 2019 to 2021.

    "I was very, very calm and relaxed," she said. "I told myself I'm not fighting Joanna. I'm fighting myself."

Winner: Passing the 'Wrestler Test'

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    Jack Della Maddalena was savoring the moment.

    He strolled slowly down the aisle from the locker room, acknowledged fellow Australians in the audience and took a long look around the stadium upon finally entering the cage.

    And once in there, he got right to work.

    The streaking welterweight extended his prodigious run of wins to 12 straight with a punishing body shot KO of Russian grappling specialist Ramazan Emeev.

    It lasted less than half a round. But it wasn’t easy.

    Emeev was aggressive, got the fight to the mat shortly after the initial glove touch and was chasing choke submissions before Della Maddalena managed to regain his feet about two minutes in. The battle went to the perimeter of the cage soon after, and it was there where Della Maddalena landed a hard left hook to Emeev’s right side that instantly crumpled him to his knees.

    The Aussie pounced with a quick series of blows to his grounded foe before referee John Sharp intervened at 2:32.

    “Walking down, I saw my Perth guys, and it gave me the energy to come in and knock this guy out,” said the winner, who’d referred to the bout going in as his "Dagestani wrestler test." “I’m still ready to go. If anyone else pulls out of their fight, call me. Let’s do it.”

Loser: The Faint of Heart

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    First it was Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.

    Then it was a boa constrictor dueling with a stubborn mongoose.

    In the end, Australian featherweight Josh Culibao survived long enough to eke out a split decision after 15 minutes that provided violence sufficient to satisfy any audience.

    He won two scorecards by 29-28 margins while a third judge saw it the same way for beaten opponent Seungwoo Choi in the final bout on the preliminary card.

    B/R's card agreed with the margin in Culibao's direction.

    Both fighters were hurt during a wild first round in which each looked a punch or two from a stoppage, while the second round saw Culibao land a shot that literally set Choi spinning as he fell to his back and rolled all way over to his knees before rising.

    Ultimately, Choi established some level of control in the third and spent much of the final session seizing ground control and chasing choke submissions.

    "That's just a crazy fight," Bisping said. "So many times where it could have ended. Both guys showed courage and resilience, and both guys showed power, too."

Winner: One Name, One Punch

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    One name was all he arrived with. And one punch was all it took.

    Maheshate, the first Chinese fighter to earn a UFC contract via Dana White's Contender Series, made his debut with the promotion in devastating PPV style via a one-punch KO of rugged veteran Steve Garcia in a scheduled three-rounder at lightweight.

    It was the 10th pro fight and ninth victory for the 22-year-old, who debuted as a teenager in 2019 and is now the third-youngest fighter on the octagonal roster.

    "I knew I would use my overhand right to end the fight," he said. "I'm definitely coming for the championship, but it's step by step, and I'll take my time."

    But he didn't waste any time with Garcia, who lunged in while missing with a sweeping left hook and was countered by the precise right-hand counter that landed squarely on his jaw and sent him to the floor face-first. Referee Marc Goddard intervened immediately, officially ending things at 1:14 of the opening round.

    "That's the way to make a debut," Cormier said.

Winner: All-In on Allen

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    It was a showcase opportunity for Brendan Allen.

    The Florida middleweight arrived with six wins in eight UFC bouts and was being talked up on Saturday's broadcast as not just a potential contender at 185 pounds, but also a champion.

    But opponent Jacob Malkoun was undeterred.

    Instead, the aggressive Aussie import got his high-profile foe to the mat in all three rounds, scoring seven takedowns and racking up better than seven minutes of control time.

    Problem was, the judges were not all-in on the underdog story, clearly putting more emphasis on Allen's advantage in overall strikes—89-66—and awarding him a sweep of the scorecards with matching 29-28 totals.

    The Singapore crowd reacted to the decision with audible boos, and Malkoun quickly exited the cage after a cursory handshake and congratulations to the winner.

    "I felt like I was more accurate," said Allen, now a winner of two straight since a second-round loss to Chris Curtis last December. "I was trying to hurt him. He was just hugging.

    "I figured it would be a 15-minute fight or a one-minute fight. But I've got to admit, he's tough."

Winner: Strawweight Socking

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    This just in: Silvana Gomez Juarez can punch.

    Seconds after the ESPN announce crew had pointed out her shortcomings when fights went to the mat, the 37-year-old Argentine veteran made it academic with a highlight-reel KO.

    Gomez Juarez successfully defended a takedown against aggressive opponent Liang Na and quickly got the fight back to the center of the Octagon, where she proceeded to land a sweeping right hand followed by a pair of precise left hooks that left Na flat on her back.

    Referee Steve Perceval immediately jumped in to save the stricken fighter, leaving Gomez Juarez to playfully campaign for a performance bonus from UFC czar Dana White.

    "That's got to be worth 50K, Dana," she said with a smile and a hand gesture. "Fifty K."

    The official time was 1:22 of the first round.

    It was Gomez Juarez's seventh KO in 11 career wins and her first victory after consecutive first-round submission losses in her first two UFC appearances.

    "I'm so happy," she said. "I dreamt about it. I visualized it. And I made it happen.

    "We knew she was going for the takedowns. The plan was we'd defend them and then do what we did. The opportunity would come."

Loser: Maintaining the Main Card

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    Saturday's main card took a hit more than 24 hours before a punch was thrown.

    Eurosport reported that flyweight Rogerio Bontorin was hospitalized in connection with weight-cutting issues, scrapping a bout with Manel Kape that would have been the second fight on the pay-per-view portion.

    It was replaced by a welterweight scrap between Andre Fialho and Jake Matthews that had been set for the preliminary card.

    Matthews ended up winning the moved bout by second-round KO.

    "I've had this sort of skill level my entire career," he said. "Thank god we were able to bring it to the fight this time. Everything you’ve seen from me before was 50 percent of Jake Matthews. Get used to this."

    Bontorin's coach told MMA Fighting that the fighter was suffering back pain during the weight cut and subsequent hospital tests showed he had renal insufficiency.

    Kape subsequently took to Twitter to confirm the fight was canceled and empathize with his would-be foe's plight.

    "I clearly understand the sacrifice of cutting weight and the intentions of being physically prepared," he said. "I'm hungry for a fight. I'm physically well, mentally always 100%. I can't wait to put my body to work."

UFC 275 Full Card Results

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    Main Card

    Jirí Prochazka def. Glover Teixeira by submission (rear-naked choke), 4:32, Round 5

    Valentina Shevchenko def. Taila Santos by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)

    Zhang Weili def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk by KO (spinning back fist), 2:26, Round 2

    Jake Matthews def. Andre Fialho by KO (punch), 2:24, Round 2

    Jack Della Maddalena def. Ramazan Emeev by KO (punches), 2:32, Round 1

    Preliminary Card

    Josh Culibao def. Seungwoo Choi by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

    Maheshate def. Steve Garcia by KO (punch), 1:14, Round 1

    Brendan Allen def. Jacob Malkoun by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

    Kyung Ho Kang def. Batgerel Danaa by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

    Early Preliminary Card

    Silvana Gomez Juarez def. Liang Na by KO (punches), 1:22, Round 1

    Joselyne Edwards def. Ramona Pascual by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)