Jiri Prochazka and Alex Pereira delivered one of the most intense pre-fight moments in UFC history.
On November 11, 2023, ‘Denisa’ returned to the Octagon for the first time in nearly a year and a half determined to reclaim the light heavyweight title he never lost. Standing in his way was two-time GLORY Kickboxing world champion and former UFC middleweight king Alex Pereira.
It would be a battle between two of the most dangerous heavy hitters in all of MMA. As if fans weren’t hyped enough, the staredown between Prochazka and Pereira seconds before going toe-to-toe inside the cage sent shivers down the spines of every fan tuning in. The moment has since been reposted, retweeted, and meme’d millions of times.
Looking back at that viral staredown during a Lowkick MMA exclusive interview with Mike Owens, Prochazka offered some insight into the message he was trying to send ‘Poatan’ before they started slinging leather in front of 19,000 fans inside the world’s most famous arena — Madison Square Garden.
“Every moment before the fight is important because you’re showing your spirit,” Prochazka said. “You’re showing your strength before the world and I really like to watch my opponent. To see through him and show him that there is no place inside myself for anything other than pure focus and winning.”
In the end, it was Alex Pereira who saw his hand raised after scoring a brutal second-round knockout against Prochazka to claim the vacant 205-pound crown.
‘Denisa’ will return to the Octagon on April 13 for UFC 300 when he meets fellow top-five ranked contender Aleksandar Rakic. With a strong showing against ‘Rocket,’ Prochazka would likely put himself back in line for another shot at recapturing the light heavyweight strap.
As for Alex Pereira, there is no official date for his first title defense, but his next opponent is expected to be another former champion who was forced to vacate the belt due to injury — Jamahal Hill.
Watch the full exclusive interview with Jiri Prochazka below: