Jiri Prochazka delivered one of the greatest escapes in UFC history, clinching victory from the jaws of defeat with 30 seconds remaining in an epic fight with Glover Teixeira.
The new champion became the first Czech fighter to have the belt wrapped around his waist after a legendary encounter that will go down in MMA history.
It seemed like the light heavyweights couldn’t be separated as the clock ticked down after 24 minutes and 30 seconds of relentless, riveting action.
But there was a final twist when Prochazka summoned energy from somewhere deep inside to reverse position on the ground and subdue one of the UFC’s most dangerous jiu-jitsu practitioners.
Jiri Prochazka (above) shocked Glover Teixeira with just 30 seconds left on the clock to win the Singapore title at UFC 275
The new champion is the first from the Czech Republic and will be a big star in his home country after his victory
It was emotional for Prochazka and his team who congratulated him in the Octagon in Singapore on Saturday night
Brazilian Teixeira, 42, and Prochazka both had moments when they looked like they were going to win before the end came late
Teixeira topped the scorecards after winning a breathless back-and-forth encounter that tested the limits of the 42-year-old Brazilian and his European challenger.
Teixeira defeated Prochazka twice in the opening round, ending up in the mount the second time. He landed some heavy ground and pounds but then slid off his opponent’s back to give the Czech time to get back on his feet.
The challenger then connected with some brutal punches of their own to finish it off with a swing.
In the second game, Prochazka started to put everything on his feet and Teixeira seemed close to it, but then the challenger made a clumsy mistake and ended up on the floor. The veteran finished the round in the mount, opening up a massive gash above the eye.
Teixeira (pictured) insisted he still had plenty to fight for and said he is not retiring despite losing the belt at the age of 42
The Brazilian had Prochazka in all sorts of trouble but the favorite found his way out of a difficult ground position
Teixeira couldn’t evade the final assist and quickly tapped at the end to stun the crowd and fans of the sport
Teixeira looked on the verge of defeat but eluded an assist into reverse position and finished the round on top, landing thunderous ground and pounds.
The fourth was carnage from start to finish. There were reversals, attempts at submission, escapes, and heavy artillery fired by both men. It went to a fifth and Teixeira scored with some incredible shots, which made Marc Goddard take a close look.
Teixeira was keen to bring the fight to the canvas when he shook his feet at Prochazka, but it proved a fatal mistake as the challenger managed to reverse position while the clock was ticking down.
He engaged a choke and it wasn’t long before Teixeira was knocking out. He ran under exhaust fumes and looked devastated afterwards.
Jan Blachowicz seems the obvious next contender but Prochazka will need an extended break after one of the most grueling and damaging fights of his career.
It was an epic conclusion to the night punctuated with memorable moments, especially on the main map.
Heavy body shots from Prochazka added up and the cardio skills of both were put to the test in a bleeding five-round player
Showing how creative and unpredictable he can be on his feet, the new champion showed off his iron jaw
Teixeira was denied the assist and both men’s sweat played a part, making it difficult for him to pin one down
Valentina Shevchenko was pushed to the limit by Taila Santos in one of her toughest matches. “The Bullet” clung to her flyweight title on the scorecards but found herself beaten on the floor more than once.
The much-anticipated rematch between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili featured a similarly thrilling fight as their 2020 fight of the year.
But then the Chinese star delivered a brilliant moment as he hit with a spinning backfist to knock out the former Polish champions.
It was her last appearance in the Octagon for the 35-year-old and she was overcome with emotion as she announced her retirement from MMA.
She said: “I’m proud of myself, I’ve been training really hard every day but in the media I’ve said I’m proud. I got caught by a good one, I didn’t expect it to be so tough and strong.
Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko (pictured above) clung to her title with a narrow win over Taila Santos on the scorecard
Zhang Weili of China (left) hits Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland (right) with a backward rotating fist in their main card match
The Polish fighter was thrown to the canvas – knowing the job was done, Weili headed to a big reception from the crowd
Weili now has a shot at the title against USA’s Carla Esparza, 34, after beating Jedrzejczyk again
“Thanks to my coaches and fans and training partners. I love life so much I have retired people thank you very much. Dana, I’m sorry I let you down, man.
“I want to give a big shout out to the UFC staff, I love you guys. It’s been 20 years, I want to be a mother, business woman, I’ve been training for two decades, half my life.”
The Polish star will surely be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame after years of dominating the division and raising the level of competition at strawweight.
UFC 275 wasn’t the most glamorous or high-profile numbered event for Dana White and co, but viewers at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang were treated to some incredible moments.
Prochazka’s victory will be remembered for a long time, as will the incredible 24 minutes and 30 seconds before that.
Prochazka is now becoming a huge star and his success is undoubtedly making headlines in his native Czech Republic