Alex Pereira is your new UFC light heavyweight champion, but he didn’t get there without a little controversy.
The Brazilian made his debut at 205 pounds Saturday at UFC 295 in Madison Square Garden, defeating Jiří Procházka by second-round TKO. It was shaping up to be a wild fight between two former champions, but then Pereira put Procházka on the floor with a right hook.
Procházka started to get up, but was met with several elbows to the head. Once he fell back again, referee Marc Goddard, who has something of a reputation for early stoppages, called the fight, awarding Pereira his second UFC belt in seven fights with the promotion.
Several UFC fighters were not happy with Goddard’s decision.
That was way too early a stoppage !!!
— Dominick Cruz (@DominickCruz) November 12, 2023
Happy Alex won but that was definitely a early stoppage
— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) November 12, 2023
BULLSHIT EARLY STOPPAGE!!! MARC GODDARD DOES IT AGAIN!!! WE ARE FIGHTERS, LET US FIGHT!!! #UFC295
— Merab “The Machine” Dvalishvili (@MerabDvalishvil) November 12, 2023
One person who agreed with Goddard, however, was Procházka.
“In the end, I think it was right. I was out,” Procházka said in his post-fight interview.
UFC president Dana White supported that account at the following news conference, saying “If [Procházka] says it’s not, it’s definitely not.”
Further replay made Goddard’s decision a little more understandable. Procházka was clearly reeling after Pereira’s right hook, and there was little he could do as he fell backward while absorbing an inhuman amount of punishment from his opponent.
The loss starts Procházka’s return from a devastating shoulder injury on a sour note, but the Czech fighter was displaying the skill that made him a champion a year and a half ago until it all went sideways.
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