The UFC’s light heavyweight division has gotten deeper.
According to a report from ESPN, the Las Vegas-based promotion has signed former RIZIN light heavyweight champion, Jiri Prochazka, who also vacated the title before the signing.
The Czech Republic native in Prochazka is riding a 10-fight winning streak and is 26-3-1 as a pro. The 27-year-old is the former RIZIN champ where he defended the strap on Dec. 31 at RIZIN 20 where he knocked out C.B. Dolloway in the first round. Before that, he knocked out Fabio Maldonado and Muhammed Lawal aka King Mo. Out of his last 10 wins, nine have come by stoppage and his last loss was in 2015 to King Mo which he avenged.
The news of Prochzaka signing with the UFC is interesting given many thought he would be fighting Ryan Bader next. Bader recently said he would be defending the light heavyweight title in April where he asked for the bout to be against Jiri Prochazka. Yet, that is no longer the case so who he will fight is to be seen.
As for Prochazka’s UFC debut, the date is not set but he should get a ranked opponent when he fights. Some logical options like the loser or perhaps the winner of Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz. Or, someone like Volkan Oezdemir should be a good test for the Czech native to see if he is top-10 caliber in the UFC.
This also adds more interest to the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Jon Jones has practically cleared out the entire division if he gets past Dominick Reyes at UFC 247. If he wins that, many have assumed “Bones” will go up to heavyweight. But, perhaps a Jiri Prochzaka bout would keep him down at 205-pounds.
The 27-year-old also has notable wins over Vadim Nemkov, Darko Stosic, Satoshi Ishii, Karl Albrektsson and Jake Heun among others.