UFC 275: Teixeira vs Prochazka Predictions
Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka
At the ripe old age of 42, Teixeira notched up his sixth win in a row and finally became the UFC’s light-heavyweight champion last year and now he goes up against former Rizin champ Prochazka, who has scored back-to-back KO’s in the UFC to fast-track his way to a title shot.
Big finishes are nothing new to the 29-year-old Prochazka, whose formidable 28-3-1 career record includes no less than 25 finishes via strikes. They’ve not come against low-level, unheralded opposition either as he’s KO’d admittedly ageing former UFC veterans like C.B. Dollaway and Fabio Maldonado, Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii, and Bellator stars like Muhammad ‘King Mo’ Lawal, Vadim Nemkov and Brandon Halsey over the years.
Prochazka is an all-action fighter who throws a Swiss-army knife variety of strikes from all kinds of angles with knockout power, and he’ll enjoy the benefit of a 4″ reach advantage over Texeira here. That being said, Prochazka’s unorthodox offensive style does often leave him wide open to being hit back, and he’s not immune to being rocked, though it’s proven hard to finish him before he find a killer blow himself.
The champion, Teixeira can also be a big threat on the feet too with very good boxing ability and proven punching power, but there came a time in his career several years ago where he was clearly not taking shots as well as he used to and wasn’t as sharp striking wise either, leading to KO losses against the likes of Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson.
However, rather than contemplating retirement, the well-rounded Teixeira wisely switched to focusing on his always dependable wrestling ability and good submission game, and its paved the way for his late-career resurgence.
There’s no prizes for guessing that’s exactly what Teixeira is going to do here as he looks to avoid Prochazka’s threat on the feet and exploit weaknesses in his ground game. It’s also worth noting that Prochazka has never been five rounds and more often than not gets the job done in the first, so if Teixeira can weather the early storm the later rounds may well swing in his favor.
With all that being said though, I do have big concerns about Teixeira’s ability to absorb the kind of blows Prochazka is going to be dishing out, and he’s the much faster, more dynamic fighter here. He’ll also have been working hard on his takedown defense behind-the-scenes during the year-long wait for this fight, so while I do think there’s clear avenues for Teixeira to win, I’ll take Prochazka to secure an early TKO finish here.
Prediction: Jiri Prochazka to win by TKO in Rd1.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos
Shevchenko continues to remain completely dominant as the flyweight division queen, so Santos will have her work cut out for her as she looks to end ‘Bullet’s’ eight fight winning streak and extend her own four-fight unbeaten run.
Part of the reason for Shevchenko’s success is that she’s not just a highly technical, agile striker with an extensive kickboxing and muay thai background, but is also a very disciplined, intelligent one too, who doesn’t over-exert herself or leave openings for her opponents to exploit as she feeds out a steady diet of solid kicks and punches. Throw in the fact that she’s also physically strong for the weight class with good wrestling ability along with vast amounts of five-round experience and that makes her very hard to beat.
Santos has fairly well-rounded skills too though. She’s not as technical as Shevchenko on the feet, but she does have a background in muay thai and won’t be afraid to exchange, aided by a slight 1″ height and 1.5″ reach advantage. However, her strongest suit her is her ground game and she’ll be looking to take the champion down and use ground-and-pound and submission attempts to try to produce an upset.
I don’t see Santos being a pushover here, but I think she’ll have trouble getting Shevchenko down and won’t be able to overpower her, while on the feet the champ will be the more skilled technician and gradually outstrike the challenger, capitalizing in the championship rounds with a TKO finish.
Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko to win by TKO in Rd4.
Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
The first fight between these two former strawweight champions was potentially the best women’s MMA scrap ever, an incredible back-and-forth battle that saw Weili narrowly emerge with a split decision victory. Jedrzejczyk took a lot of damage in the fight and has chosen not to compete again until now, more than two years later, while Weili has gone to lose twice against Rose Namajunas in back-to-back title fights.
It’s a bit of a shame to say the least that this isn’t a five-rounder given how good their previous battle was. Still it’s a very intriguing fight nonetheless as these are two elite competitors who are very closely matched.
Of the two, Weili is the more thickly built, carries more power in her strikes and has a good record of finishing opponents. Jedrzejczyk doesn’t have that kind of stopping power, but she is a very crisp, clean technical striker. With that in mind it was perhaps a mistake that last time out she simply tried to fight fire with fire as though she picks her shots slightly better than Weili and can marginally outland her, her blows weren’t as impactful and she tends to wear damage badly, which doesn’t play well to the judges.
So, this time I’d expect Jedrzejczyk to fight a little more cautiously and clinically in an attempt to hit without being hit as much herself, and she certainly has the ability to make a good attempt of doing so.
That being said, you have to question whether the 34-year-old Jedrzejczyk’s heart is really still in this after such a gruelling fight the first time and the subsequent long layoff, during which she’s been able to revel in being a big star in her native Poland.
On the other hand it still feels like Weili is hungry for success and is also improving, spending more time focusing on her wrestling of late, which is something she may look to implement here, though Jedrzejczyk has very good takedown defense.
As such I’m leaning slightly towards Weili here to apply lots of pressure, land the bigger blows and be a bit more versatile with a few takedown attempts mixed in to secure a win on the scorecards.
Prediction: Zhang Weili to win by decision.
Rogerio Bontorin vs. Manel Kape
This fight could be the last-chance saloon for Bontorin, who has gone winless in his last four trips to the Octagon, while Kape is coming off back-to-back first round victories via strikes.
Bontorin’s recent record isn’t as bad as it looks though. One of those last four fights was actually a win that was overturned to a no-contest due to the fact he tested positive for a banned substance (later proven to be from a tainted supplement). His other losses were also competitive for the most part, so it does feel like he still has more to offer in the UFC.
Whether he’ll emerge with a win here is another story though as Kape is a dangerous and dynamic striker who is no stranger to finishing fights in highlight-reel fashion.
So, Kape will have the technical and power advantage on the feet, but Bontorin is hard-headed and will be looking to wade into range and set up takedown attempts, and if he can get the fight to the mat then things become very interesting as he is certainly the better grappler and could give Kape real problems via submissions.
In the end I still favor Kape though as he’ll punish Bontorin as he tries to get into close quarters, eventually leading to a second round TKO finish.
Prediction: Manel Kape to win by TKO in Rd2.
Jack Della Maddalena vs. Ramazan Emeev
Contender Series recruit Maddelena made an immediate impact in his UFC debut with a first round TKO victory and now comes up against Emeev, who lost his last fight via split decision, but holds a 5-2 record overall in the UFC.
There’s already a bit of a buzz around 25-year-old Maddalena this early in his UFC career as he is an exciting striking talent, having very good boxing ability that’s enhanced by wielding big power and a good sense of distance management and movement.
On the other hand, the 35-year-old Emeev’s game is all about utilizing his wrestling ability to either control the action from the clinch or get the fight to the mat and keep it there, showing a willingness to grind out wins in rather uneventful fashion. Earlier in his career he did pick up a number of submission finishes, but he’s yet to register a stoppage win during his five year run in the UFC.
This isn’t an easy fight for Maddalena to help continue to build his momentum as there is a real risk he could just end up being smothered on the mat. Still, the fight starts on the feet and he’s the faster, more athletic fighter and his distance management and footwork will help him to stick and move to limit his more plodding opponent’s takedowns, while his power and timing will present opportunities to punish Emeev for his attempts to get into range, leading to a second round TKO finish.
Prediction: Jack Della Maddalena to win by TKO in Rd2.
UFC 275 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Brendan Allen vs. Jacob Malkoun
Seung Woo Choi vs. Joshua Culibao
Steve Garcia vs. Hayisaer Maheshate
Jake Matthews vs. Andre Fialho
UFC 275 Early Prelims
Kang Kyung-ho vs. Danaa Batgerel
Liang Na vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez
Ramona Pascual vs. Joselyne Edwards
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process.
You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.