The signing was first reported by ESPN on Wednesday.
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At 27-years-old, Jiri Prochazka completed the final fight on his RIZIN contract last month at RIZIN 20 when he devasted UFC veteran C.B. Dollaway early in the first round to defend his RIZIN light heavyweight title. This was part of a ten-fight win streak for Prochazka that has seen him finish the likes of Fabio Maldonado, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, Brandon Halsey, Jake Heun, Karl Albrektsson, and Kazuyuki Fujita, among others.
One of the longest-tenured fighters in the promotion’s short history, Jiri Prochazka has competed under the RIZIN Fighting Federation banner twelve times dating back to their inaugural show in 2015. Prochazka competed in RIZIN’s first-ever Grand-Prix, competing three times in forty-eight hours and losing to Lawal by way of knockout in the final round on December 31, 2015. Before this crushing defeat, Prochazka had amassed two RIZIN wins over Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii and current Bellator top contender Vadim Nemkov.
Since that run in the 2015 Grand-Prix, the Czech light heavyweight has only competed one time outside of RIZIN. This coming in 2016 when he was looking to rebound from injury after twelve months away. He went home to the Czech Republic and defeated Willian Roberto Alves at Fusion Fight Night 16. This event was co-promoted by RIZIN Fighting Federation, though.
Jiri Prochazka won the inaugural RIZIN light heavyweight championship in 2019 when he beat Lawal at RIZIN 15. In 2017/2018, Prochazka was looking to secure a massive fight against the all-time legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. Unfortunately, that fight never came to be, though it was being worked on at multiple times through the 24-month period.
Last year, “Denisa” and his team did their best to get a shot at Bellator MMA light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Ryan Bader. Whether it be for Prochazka’s title, Bader’s light heavyweight title, or both, this was something the Czech very much wanted. Sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be. Quite ironic that Prochazka’s last fight with RIZIN came against Bader’s longtime teammate and friend C.B. Dollaway, though.
No word on a debut date and place for Jiri Prochazka as of writing, but with 23 finishes in his 26 wins, fans of the UFC should get ready. Jiri Prochazka has won over Japanese fans for the past four years with his violent, fan-friendly style, and he’s sure to do the same when he inevitably goes stateside sometime in 2020.