For the second time in three months, a UFC pay-per-view has undergone a massive shift at the last second. Gone from UFC 282 is the UFC light heavyweight title fight between Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira, replaced by a scrap for the vacant belt between Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev.
Prochazka was forced off the card due to a badly injured shoulder that will take so long to heal, Jiri decided to relinquish the belt. As for Teixeira getting dumped, that’s a bit more of an odd story.
“I told them I needed more time for this guy, that he has a different style,” Teixeira explained to ESPN after the news broke. “[Ankalaev] guy is a southpaw. I said, ‘What about fighting him in Brazil?’ They denied that and said they needed someone to fight in Vegas. I said, ‘OK, I’ll fight Jan [Blachowicz] in Vegas. If you’re going to throw me off, Jan has a regular stance. Ankalaev is a totally different game. I need more time.”
The primary concern on the UFC’s side was keeping UFC 282 intact enough to still have a marketable event to promote on ESPN. That meant keeping the light heavyweight title fight atop the Las Vegas card, not moving it to UFC 283 in Brazil. As for refusing to let Teixeira fight Blachowicz instead of Ankalaev ... well, we all know how the UFC likes to be the one calling the shots.
Even after going from having a title shot to having no fight at all, Glover Teixeira believes he made the right choice sticking to his demands.
“I am a professional,” he said. “Every time I show up, I put on a great fight. Win or lose. I’m not going to go in there and just show up to fight a guy because they say so. This is a dangerous game and I need to prepare myself the best I can. My family is watching me. I have a lot of students in the gym watching me. I need to be professional. So, I am 100 percent behind the decision I made.”
As for UFC 283 in Brazil, don’t expect to see Teixeira on that card any more.
“I’m going to wait. I’m probably the number one contender,” he told Super Lutas in another interview (via Bloody Elbow). “I’ll face the winner of this fight. The UFC hasn’t told me anything, but it’s obvious, right? Myself, Jiri and Jan, those are the three who were at the top in the title mix. Ankalaev is here now, he was going to fight Jan in a title eliminator and the winner would face the winner of me against Jiri. Now I’m back in the line.
“I felt a little disrespected,” he concluded. “Given everything I’ve done for this company. I’m a bit sad about this whole situation. Why wouldn’t they let me fight Jan? It’s two old timers fighting again, but it would sell more than this Ankalaev fight. We’re two heavy-hitters. It would sell more for sure, no disrespect to Ankalaev. He’s just not that well-known here in America. Maybe he is in Russia, I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t understand these things that they do.”
What do you think of the UFC’s last minute scrambling this time around, Maniacs? Are you excited for Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev, or do you think the promotion did Glover Teixeira dirty?