Blachowicz was originally scheduled to face top-ranked contender Magomed Ankalaev in the co-main event of UFC 282 on Dec. 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports reported that Jiri Prochazka was forced to withdraw from the headlining bout against former 205-pound titleholder Glover Teixeira after suffering a horrible shoulder injury.
Teixeira declined the opportunity to take on Ankalaev for the title, which made way for Blachowicz to get the main event slot and a title fight upgrade.
‘The Legendary Polish Power’ gave his take on the sudden change of events on Twitter this morning.
“That was the craziest several hours ever,” he wrote. “I left Warsaw to take part in the eliminator match, and a few hours later I’ve arrived as a title challenger. I’m ready. Keep fingers crossed. @jiri_bjp- huge respect for your conduct! Get well! #UFC282.”
Blachowicz Was on the Plane When the Changes Happened for UFC 282
The 39-year-old Poland native was on his way to Las Vegas and did not know about the title opportunity until he landed several hours after the announcement. In a recent training session clip, he revealed he was the last person to find out about the change.
“So, we just arrived to Vegas yesterday in the evening and it’s the first training session today,” said Blachowicz. “Get acclimated, used to the weather and happy because of the title shot, the main event. Amazing! That was crazy because I didn’t know anything.
“I was in the plane for ten hours. I was the last person to know that my fight will be for the title.”
He wished Prochazka, who vacated his title out of respect for fellow contenders, a quick recovery from the serious injury.
“I wish Jiri very fast recovery but it is what it is. We’ve got the title shot. Perfect, I’m happy! Ready for it.
Prochazka Suffered ‘The Worst Shoulder Injury’ in UFC
UFC president Dana White shared more details about the injury and likely timeline for return.
“This is the worst shoulder injury the doctors have seen in UFC history,” White told Yahoo Sports. “It’s really f***ing bad. His shoulder is very, very bad. He’s going to have serious surgery that will require extensive rehab.”
White opened up on their decision to bump up Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev for the gold, leaving out top contender Teixeira, who was initially slated for the title fight.
“We offered Glover the fight [against Ankalaev]. For some reason, he didn’t want the fight, so we had to move on. If we couldn’t have the rematch, getting Ankalaev, who has the second-longest winning streak in light heavyweight history, and Blachowicz, who is the former champion, is really fortunate.
“It all fell into place for us as it often seems to do. But that’s a great fight, too, and now it’s for the full title.”
Blachowicz goes into the bout looking to reclaim the light heavyweight title and snap Ankalaev’s nine-fight win streak.