Though MMA fans will have to wait a while before they get to see Jon Jones back in the UFC octagon, the main event at UFC 295 is still one you won’t want to miss.
The light heavyweight belt is up for grabs as former Light Heavyweight Champion Jiri Prochazka is back from injury and has his sights on getting his old belt wrapped around his waist once more. But he will have to get through former Middleweight Champion Alex Pereira at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Originally, the main event was Jones vs. Stipe Miocic, but due to a pectoral injury, Jones had to pull out. For the heavyweight division instead, the UFC has decided to make the co-main event Sergei Pavlovich vs. Tom Aspinall for the Interim Heavyweight Championship.
Here are the UFC 295 odds, props, and predictions.
UFC 295 Main Event Odds
Pereira is a slight favorite in the sportsbooks as we head into fight week. The former middleweight champ is available at around -125, making Prochazka the underdog at +105.
UFC 295 Co-Main Event Odds
Right now, the sportsbooks have this bout pretty even with Aspinall at -118 and Pavlovich at around -102.
UFC 295 Betting Preview: Prochazka vs Pereira
Prochazka is Back for His Belt
It’s been almost 18 months since Jiri Prochazka (29-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has fought after a brutal shoulder injury and long recovery.
And since then, a lot has changed in the division. Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev both failed to win it in their title fight, which ended up as a draw. Then, Jamahal Hill won the belt and vacated it after an injury of his own. Is the division cursed since Jon Jones moved up to heavyweight? Maybe.
But here we are now with the most exciting Light Heavyweight title matchup in a long time. This one is a complete joy for MMA fans. Both guys have unique personalities and backgrounds and they are both killers in the cage with extreme knockout power and stellar striking abilities.
Prochazka’s return feels like that of a seasoned UFC veteran, but it’s tough to remember he has only been in the UFC for three fights. He is, however, a veteran of Rizin and is on a 13-fight win streak in his MMA career.
And on top of that, 12 of those 13 wins have been finishes. That’s a scary percentage for any opponent to go up against.
His resume includes wins over Dominick Reyes, Glover Teixeira, Volkan Oezdemir, Muhammad Lawal, Vadim Nemkov, and many more.
A win for Prochazka over Pereira would be huge for his resume. Though both guys have little UFC experience, they are both seasoned combat sports vets who have fought in various organizations around the world.
And depending on Hill’s recovery, the next matchup should surely be the battle between the two guys who won the belt and then vacated due to injury.
Pereira Looks to Become a Champion in Two Divisions
Alex Pereira (8-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) will try to become the ninth fighter in UFC history to become a champion in two divisions on Saturday night.
With just six fights in the UFC, he has beaten three current and former UFC champions in Sean Strickland, Israel Adesanya, and Jan Blachowicz.
So what’s a fourth in seven fights? At least that’s what Pereira and the UFC are probably thinking with this matchup. This bout will be only Pereira’s second fight at light heavyweight. He won against Blachowicz in a split decision back at UFC 291 in July.
Pereira is known for being a champion kickboxer who has beaten Adesanya three times between facing off in kickboxing and the UFC. He is also known for his nasty left hook, which has dropped many men, including current Middleweight Champion Strickland.
His only loss in the UFC was in the MMA rematch against Adesanya, where he was finished late in the second round.
Pereira makes for a fitting foe to welcome the return of Prochazka. Prochazka’s last fight was against Pereira’s mentor and training partner, Glover Teixeira, who will surely be in Pereira’s corner on Saturday. Prochazka and Teixeira put on quite the show in their bout at UFC 275, which was arguably the fight of the year in 2022.
Pereira has more options if he wins on Saturday night. Hill waits in the wings as does Ankalaev. Or he could go back down if the UFC allows him to and rematch Strickland, who he already beat in one round.
Regardless, Saturday night’s main event should be a great striking matchup and will either end brutally by knockout or both guys will be quite beat up by the final bell.
UFC 295 Event Info
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023
- Start Time: Main Card at 10 p.m. ET
- Where to Watch: ESPN+ PPV