Recency bias is a persistent issue within the MMA world. It’s not something that raises its head every week there’s a UFC card, but it happens enough that the thing that seemed momentous on Saturday night appears a bit more pedestrian when Monday morning rolls around. I’m not saying that recency bias is the reason that Jiri Prochazka is favored over UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira in the main event of Saturday’s UFC 275 pay-per-view card, but I think Prochazka might be getting a bit more shine than he has earned heading into this matchup.
In the lead up to his signing by the UFC, Prochazka had bested Jake Heun, Brandon Halsey, Muhammed Lawal, Fabio Maldonado and C.B. Dollaway. All those fighters are recognizable names in the sport, but they were all on the downside of their careers when Prochazka knocked them out.
When he made it to the UFC, Prochazka faced Volkan Oezdemir, who was on a 2-3 run and Dominick Reyes, who was 0-2 heading into his bout opposite Prochazka. Again, both fine fighters, but like his previous name opponents, neither was at the height of their career at the time they met Prochazka — and got knocked out.
What I see when I look at Prochazka is a fighter who is something like a new concept car. He’s performed well in what I would say are “closed course” road tests, but he hasn’t really been put through the paces in a situation where the unexpected can — and will — occur. In short, Prochazka has not been tested by a fighter who is at their best.
On the other hand, Glover Teixeira is more like a Ford F-150. He might not be pretty or glamorous, but he’s been tested in almost every type of situation imaginable.
Sure, there were times when Teixeira failed tests, but when he went back to the shop after those breakdowns and he and his team got done tinkering with things, he emerged as a better and more complete fighter. Now, with 40 fighters under his belt and riding a six-fight winning streak, Teixeira has proven he’s up to any task an opponent can throw his way. Yes, there are some dents and dings on his body, but he is a workhorse who can be trusted to deliver the goods. He might get bogged down and look like he’s on his last legs at some points in his fights, but since losing to Corey Anderson in 2018, the current UFC 205-pound king has worked himself out of any bad situation and come out on top.
I don’t know how the main event of UFC 275 will play out, but I think this is the fight where we will find out just how good the 29-year-old Prochazka is and I suspect the 42-year-old champion will put him through his paces like no previous opponent could.
UFC 275 takes place at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore on Saturday, June 11. The main card streams on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.