UFC 275 Staff Picks: Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka
Glover Teixeira will defend his title against Jiri Prochazka this Saturday night in Singapore.
Teixeira became the new UFC light heavyweight champion when he defeated Jan Blachowicz by submission in October. He’ll now step back into the cage as a champion when he meets Prochazka, who has impressed in his first two bouts with the promotion. Prochazka, a former RIZIN light heavyweight champion, will enter as the betting favorite after two impressive knockout wins.
Teixeira vs. Prochazka is the main event of the UFC 275 PPV main card. Fight fans can order the event on the ESPN+ website to watch Teixeira vs. Prochazka, Shevchenko vs. Santos, Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk, and more.
Read on for the latest Teixeira vs. Prochazka betting odds and our staff picks and predictions for UFC 275.
The champion will enter this one as a decent-sized underdog. Teixeira is currently listed at generous odds of +175 at popular bookmaker BetUS.
A winning $100 bet on Teixeira to win would pay out $275 on Saturday night. On the other hand, a bet on the favorite, Prochazka, would return $145 after a $100 bet.[lasso ref=”betus-bonus” id=”37228″ link_id=”22967″]
This is a great clash of styles. Glover Teixeira has proven time and time again why he can’t be counted out and furthermore no fighter has exemplified coming back from rough opening rounds as much as him. Teixeira for a long time was heralded as a boxer with some of the heaviest hands but in his latter years as a fighter he has really gone back to his roots with his heavy jiu jitsu game. However, in his most recent fight and title win, Teixeira showed how dominant he can be if he can secure the takedown early and how much power he still has in his hands, particularly his tight hooks. He stands like a boxer with a high guard and looks to bob and weave his way in protecting his head and trying to get into the pocket. In general, his inside boxing is crisper than Prochazka’s but getting on the inside will be particularly difficult in this matchup.
Prochazka fights in an extremely awkward and unpredictable style. In almost every fight the commentators criticize him for how low he keeps his hands, which isn’t particularly unusual but he also leads with his chin which creates a very large risk. Yet, because he operates in such a long stance and leans so far forward, he is almost always able to slip backward or in to stay safe as he enters, his punches come from the hip making them difficult to see coming and with so much distance for them to gain power on he is an absolute knockout artist. All of this does come with the caveat then if he is caught clean there is no defense to deflect anything and the risk is massive. He also operates at a good distance though and he uses is seemingly lacking defense to bait fighters into lashing out at him so that he can lean away or intercept, one of his best tools for this is his upside down jab that comes dramatically from below which is a pretty rare technique more akin to Jeet Kune Do than what we regularly see in MMA.
Prochazka’s grappling ability is not on the level of Teixeira who isn’t just a black belt but an elite black belt. Glover’s ability to maintain control at all points is impeccable as when he manages to get on top his main concern is always to keep adjusting so as to flatten his opponent out. This offers very little opportunity to explode or create space, and from there Teixeira can work towards ground and pound and submissions. Largely his ability to maintain control for extended periods of time causes his opponents to act desperately at which point he can take the back to land something significant. In general being on the bottom will be a very bad place for Prochazka, he has shown the ability to shoulder roll and explode out but alot of it comes from his athleticism. Stopping the takedown is another matter however, for Glover to complete his go-to double leg or high crotch against Prochazka, he usually needs to trap his opponent against the cage. With Prochazka’s aggression and ability to get in and out of range so quickly he will be particularly difficult to trap there. His use of such a low guard, while once again has its risks, is also an effective tool in sprawling on takedowns as his arms are already dropped ready to defend against them. Teixeira may need to get some respect upstairs and force Jiri to raise his guard before he can shoot, but trading with Prochazka is one of the most dangerous areas Teixeira can find himself in. I think Teixeira knows how to win this fight but he has to go through so many weapons to get there that he will be in a lot of danger at all times.
Pick: Jiri Prochazka to win via KO
Amazingly, two days after turning 42 years old, Glover Teixeira became the oldest first-time champion in the UFC. On his path to the belt, during the 5 fights leading up to the championship fight, Teixeira opened as the betting underdog in 4 of the 5 fights. Then, time and time again, Teixeira defied the odds for win after win. Once again, despite being the current champion, Teixeira is the betting underdog. Interestingly, Teixeira’s tendency to defy the odds is akin to his fight style. Especially at 42 years old, Teixeira is a slow striker who has been hit, hurt, and nearly finished during his 5-fight winning streak. But, even when he appears to be nearly knocked out and the entire arena counts him out, Teixeira recovers, rallies, and finds the finish of his own. The debate is whether Vegas odds makers are simply wrong in their evaluation of the light heavyweight champion, or, is the fact that he’s nearly been finished in several wins, indicative that the odds makers have it right and it’s only a matter of time before Teixeira runs out of thematic comebacks? Narrowing the scope to this fight specifically, Teixeira is outgunned on the feet. During his storied career, Teixeira has a negative strike differential, meaning he is hit more often than he lands; and, as he’s aged, his striking offense has become more basic while his striking defense more porous. His striking style is a basic burst boxing technique where he keeps a high guard, blitzes forward, and throws a basic combination designed to close distance. Teixeira fights this way not due to lack of ability, but because he wants to get ahold of his opponent as quickly as possible. The champ is a strong and smothering wrestler who does not give his opponent a centimeter of space once he can close the distance. Teixeira will often, once in range, lunge forward for a takedown, grind his opponent to the mat, and maul them like a bear with a salmon. His wrestling is gritty and his grappling is exhausting. Once on the mat, Teixeira expertly holds position while inflicting ground and pound designed to end the fight or create an opening for a submission. He’s ended 28 fights inside the distance, most of which have come with him battering his opponent on the mat.
Prochazka carries himself with a unique combination of extreme confidence and humility. In and out of the octagon, Prochazka respects his opponents’ abilities while fighting with pure aggression. In a 31-fight professional career, Jiri has only gone to the judges once and only seen round 3 twice. From the opening salvo, Prochazka moves forward aggressively and with volume. He strikes from odd angles and on an offbeat rhythm, yet, his attacks are technical and land with overwhelming power. Prochazka is one of the, if not the, most athletically gifted fighters in the division and he knows how to weaponize his athleticism. He will, with a wide but bouncy base, move forward, throwing a collection of kicks from range designed to end the fight or force his opponent back. Prochazka can find the finish with head kick or flying knee while closing distance. But, if his opponent can survive the barrage of kicks, he is often stuck in a worse position. This is because Prochazka is relentless once his opponent is trapped against the cage. Jiri will ramp up his already high volume when he sees his prey pinned, unloading heavy punches, slicing elbows, and thudding knees. If his opponent can circle out or even force Prochaska on his back foot, a rare occurrence, the challenger can fluidly move laterally around the octagon and land with impressive precision on his counter shots as well. The only flaw we’ve seen in Prochaska’s game, and the reason this fight is so intriguing, is he can struggle to defend the takedown. It’s a dangerous proposition for fighters to get in elbow range against Prochazka but the few who have survived the power have found success with the takedown.
Pick: Glover Teixeira to win inside the distance
Glover Teixeira is one of, if not the most, underappreciated champions of recent years. To see this, look no further than the betting line, as he has not been a convincing favorite since 2017, and frequently, he has been a sizable underdog. Regardless of being overlooked by Vegas, Teixeira has defied the odds and has put forth impressive performances of recent note, thus earning him the title at a young 42 years of age.
In Teixeira’s recent fights, he often has to battle back from adversity. Frequently, Teixeira, being a somewhat slow-moving traditional striker, can be hit cleanly and with significant power, thus forcing him to have to weather an early storm of haymaking strikes thrown by his opponent. Being the veteran he is, Teixeira does an excellent job staying relaxed in the most chaotic situations, in doing so, he can find an opening in the storm of strikes to shoot a takedown. Once he secures a takedown, Teixeira is excellent at controlling his opponent while simultaneously inflicting damaging ground and pound. This ground and pound, similar to other elite top position ground fighters in the UFC, is used to open up opportunities to secure a submission – 4 of his last 6 wins have come via submission. In total, Teixeira is a fighter who seems relatively non-threatening during the fight, but the moment he gets the fight to the ground, he is the most dangerous man in the light heavyweight division, if not the entire UFC, to have on top of you.
While Glover Teixeira is a relatively mundane, technical striker who uses sound boxing techniques to ultimately set himself up to land a takedown, Jiri Prochazka is an athletic freak that favors non-traditional movement to land his memorizing, damaging strikes. To put it simply, it is of complete disservice to Jiri and everyone looking to make a predictive analysis relative to the intent of striking made by Jiri, as his best attribute on the feet is his unpredictability. Often, when a fighter is said to be unpredictable and/or non-traditional, their attacks are far more athletically-induced contrary to understanding positioning and timing. But for Jiri, he seamlessly merges striking intelligence with unicorn-like athleticism. This combination is extremely rare to possess and rationalizes why Jiri has been able to have success as a professional fighter given he has finished 25 of his 28 wins by KO/TKO.
As with many analysts in the MMA community, the angle seen on this fight is quite blurry, as the area in which the fight takes place directly correlates to who will win. Ultimately, knowing the fight begins on the feet, I expect Jiri to quickly damage Glover enough to either the point of a finish or to the level where Jiri’s natural athleticism prevents the takedown from his damaged opponent. And if kept standing, Jiri will eventually find a finish against the slow-moving Teixeira.
Pick: Jiri Prochazka to win inside the distance
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.