Glover Teixeira (33-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) will defend his light-heavyweight title for the first time tonight at Singapore Indoor Stadium, where Jiri Prochazka will try to take the 42-year-old Brazilian’s belt in the UFC 275 main event.
As of early Saturday afternoon, most books had Prochazka (28-3-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) listed as a favorite in the -195 (PointsBet) to -220 range. Teixeira is a +170 to +180 underdog, while the total is 1.5 rounds (‘over’ -140, ‘under’ +110).
Teixeira is on a six-fight winning streak that started in January of 2019. He has won five of those scraps via submissions, including a second-round win over Jan Blachowicz (rear-naked choke) to capture the 205-pound belt at UFC 267 last October. This is the third straight underdog spot for Teixeira.
Prochazka is making just his third UFC appearance, but he’s looked spectacular in his first two outings. The 29-year-old native of the Czech Republic garnered a title shot with his dominant win over Dominick Reyes, who was knocked out cold by a spinning back elbow with 31 seconds left in Round 2.
Prochazka cashed tickets in a pick ’em affair and brought home an extra $100,000. He won Performance of the Night honors and the contest was dubbed the Fight of the Night. Bettors supporting his prop to win by KO brought home a +130 return. That prop for Prochazka to win by KO is at a -135 price tonight.
In the Czech’s Octagon debut, he blasted Volkan Oezdemir with a KO just 49 seconds into Round 2. Once again, Prochazka earned a POTN bonus.
He brings a 12-fight winning streak into the cage tonight, including wins over Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal, Fabio Maldonado and C.B. Dolloway. He hasn’t tasted defeat since losing by KO to King Mo on New Year’s Eve of 2015.
Prochazka’s stand-up game is slick and creative, as he throws punches, kicks and elbows from all sorts of angles. The 29-year-old former Rizin light-heavyweight kingpin also utilizes an array of spinning attacks like the one that ended Reyes.
Prochazka stands 6-foot-3, so he’ll enjoy a two-inch height advantage. He has an 80-inch reach that is four inches longer than the champ’s.
The biggest question going into this contest is whether Teixeira can get the fight to the ground. That’s where he needs the fight to take place, and it’s the last place Prochazka wants to be.
If you want to see Prochazka work off his back, you can check out this 2017 scrap against Karl Albrektsson, (Hat Tip, @hudsoneverhardt) who scored multiple takedowns and spent about seven minutes in top position. Eventually, though, Prochazka worked his way back to his feet and scored a KO with three seconds left in the opening stanza (10-minute rounds in the Rizin promotion).
Teixeira is an excellent striker in his own right, but he wants to instigate as many grappling situations as possible against the younger and faster striker.
PREDICTION: I have way too much respect for Teixeira to lay a -200 price against him. However, I have to go with Prochazka, whose striking skills remind me of Jon Jones early in his UFC career. There’s a prop for Prochazka to win in Round 1, 2 or 3 at a -120 price. That’s what I like for three units. I’ll also place one-half unit on ‘under’ 1.5 rounds for a +110 return.
–As usual, women’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko is too expensive (-600 to -670 range) to back with a straight wager. She’s making her seventh title defense against Brazilian Taila Santos, who is 19-1 overall and 5-1 in the UFC. Shevchenko has won eight consecutive fights since losing a split decision to Amanda Nunes in a bantamweight contest at UFC 215 in 2017. Shevchenko has finished back-to-back opponents, three of her last four and four of her previous six foes. Let’s go with three units on the prop for Shevchenko to win inside the distance for a +120 payout (DraftKings).
—I’m on Joanna Jędrzejczyk for one-half unit as a +145 underdog in her rematch against Zhang Weili. I previewed this matchup and offered plenty of opinions in this piece earlier this week.
—Let’s also back Andre Fialho for one unit at a -125 price (DraftKings and Caesars). The 28-year-old from Portugal made his UFC debut in January on short notice against Michel Pereira, who is on a five-fight winning streak (that should be six if not for his DQ loss — illegal knee –against Diego Sanchez in a bout he was winning handily).
Pereira won a close decision (29-28 across) over Fiahlo, who bounced back with a first-round KO win over Miguel Baeza on April 16. After his first UFC win, Fiahlo walked into Dana White’s office and asked to fight again right away.
The UFC boss booked him three weeks later on May 7, and Fiahlo collected a second straight POTN bonus with another first-round KO victory over Cameron VanCamp. Once more, he strolled into Dana’s office and requested a fight on tonight’s card. Therefore, Fiahlo will be making his fourth Octagon appearance of 2022 and his third in a seven-week span. He has a tougher opponent this time around in Jake Matthews, but I’ll nonetheless roll with Fiahlo.
—Let’s go with one more prop for one-half unit, risking it on Brendan Allen to win via submission (+230 at FanDuel) in a middleweight scrap vs. Jacob Malkoun. Allen (18-5 MMA, 7-2 UFC) has 10 submission wins on his resume.
–Finally, let’s go with a parlay for one-half unit. We’ll go with Prochazka (-195 at PointsBet), Shevchenko (-600 at BetMGM), Allen (-280 at FanDuel) and Fiahlo (-125). This four-fight parlay will get us a +331.15 return. Therefore, we’d win 1.65 units (since we’re risking 0.5 units) if all four fighters prevail.
–Whether you tail or fade, best of luck to all and enjoy the show!