Streaking UFC light heavyweight contender, Jiri Prochazka managed to catch one-time title challenger, Anthony Smith’s impressive first round rear-naked choke win over Ryan Spann in the main event of UFC Vegas 37 last week, detailing how he was impressed by Smith’s performance, however, questioned some of his decision making in a fight he claimed was in a “50-50” sway on occasion.
Headlining for the seventh time under the UFC’s banner, Smith, a one-time light heavyweight title challenger, clinched the #4 rank in the division with an impressive opening round rear-naked choke win over renowned finisher, Spann — wrapping the former LFA champion up after a scramble on the ground.
Landing at an impressive clip throughout the opening round, the experienced and technical Smith scored 18 total strikes at a 60% clip, limiting challenger, Spann to just eight total strikes by the time the three and half minute fight had culminated.
Off the back of the win, Smith called for a rematch with fellow surging contender, Aleksandar Rakic — with the Austrian-born challenger appearing to suggest a December re-run between the two, in what could come as a light heavyweight title-eliminator.
Making big waves since his UFC debut back on ‘Fight Island’ in July of last year, Prochazka, a former Rizin FF light heavyweight titleholder confirmed during an interview with LowKick MMA reporter, James Lynch that he would be acting as a backup to next month’s UFC 267 light heavyweight championship headliner between reigning champion, Jan Blachowicz and Minas Gerais veteran, Glover Teixeira.
When asked for his thoughts on Smith’s performance against the Dana White‘s Contender Series alum, Spann — Prochazka praised the mindset on display from the Nebraska native, but explained that portion of the fight could have gone either way.
“Little chaos (chaotic) but, the hands were on the place (target) — good,” Jiri Prochazka replied. “Yeah, good — great, nice fight, but there was a lot of moments where it was 50-50, where (Ryan) Spann can take a win, like the same with (Anthony) Smith.“
“I don’t like it — I don’t like this style,” Jiri Prochazka explained. “If you keep the — you need to keep all the time the fight, the same pressure and win the fight. And in this fight, sometimes it was, ‘Wow, Smith, what are you doing? But it was a nice fight. And I like his mindset so, he’s a good man.“
Undefeated in his last 12 professional walks, Czech Republic native, Prochazka scored a first round knockout win over UFC alum, C.B. Dollaway to successfully defend his light heavyweight crown before signing with the UFC in January of last year.
Debuting at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi, UAE — Prochazka stopped one-time light heavyweight title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir with a stunning one-punch second round knockout.
Headlining in his last outing in May at UFC Vegas 25, Prochazka stopped two-time title challenger, Dominick Reyes with a surefire Knockout of the Year contender — dropping the Hesperia native with a shocking second round spinning-back elbow.