The much-anticipated rematch between UFC light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira in the main event of UFC 282 has been called off because of a significant injury to the titleholder.
According to MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, Prochazka suffered a serious shoulder injury and attempted to fight through it, but he was told by doctors he could "damage his shoulder forever." He will need surgery that will force him to be out for at least a year, and he has vacated the title as a result.
Per MMA Fighting, the new main event of the Dec. 10 event will see former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz take on Magomed Ankalaev. Helwani stated that this fight will be for the vacant light heavyweight championship after Teixeira turned down a fight against Ankalaev.
Prochazka had defeated Teixeira to win the 205-pound title at UFC 275 in June. Their first bout was a back-and-forth slugfest and Fight of the Year candidate that saw Prochazka score a late finish with a fifth-round submission.
The title win for Prochazka capped off a swift rise to the top of the UFC. After making his debut in 2020 with a second-round knockout win over former title contender Volkan Oezdemir, Prochazka needed just one more win before receiving a title shot against Teixeira. His second-round KO over another former title contender in Dominick Reyes established him as one of the most dangerous fighters in the light heavyweight division.
The fight cancellation is surely disappointing for Teixeira. Per Helwani, the 43-year-old didn't feel like he had enough time to prepare for a surging young contender in Ankalaev and instead pushed for a rematch against Blachowicz, which the UFC balked at. Teixeira then asked to fight Anklalaev at a later date, but the UFC refused. Helwani stated that there are "no guarantees" that Teixeira will face the winner of Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev.
Blachowicz, who lost his title to Teixeira in 2021, is coming off a TKO win over Aleksandar Rakić in May. Ankalaev has won nine straight fights dating back to 2018 heading into the most high-profile matchup of his career. It will be the first career title opportunity for the 30-year-old.