Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Jiří Procházka Receives Hero’s Welcome Upon Return To Czech Republic

Newly-crowned UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jiří Procházka received a reception worthy of a king upon his return to Czech Republic on Monday.

Procházka entered the Octagon for the third time this past weekend. While his first two outings had seen him record brutal knockouts of Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes, “Denisa” was dragged to deep water against veteran Glover Teixeira.

But despite often being on the back foot during the UFC 275 main event, Procházka dug deep and emerged victorious. After his fists, feet, and elbows couldn’t get the job done, the 29-year-old turned the tables on Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Teixiera late on, submitting the now-former champ just 28 seconds away from the final horn.

As well as his personal accomplishments, which included a 13th consecutive win, a 28th career finish, and UFC title glory in just three fights, Procházka’s triumph was a historic one for his home country.

Having etched his name in the history books as the Czech Republic’s first titleholder on MMA’s biggest stage, Procházka was met with an adoring crowd of over 7,000 people when he returned home to the city of Brno.

In the videos below, courtesy of the champ’s manager Tim Simpson, Procházka can be seen standing on a stage, lifting his newly-acquired strap, and pounding his chest, while the crowd chants “Denisa” at the local star.

The celebratory scene perhaps hammers home the narrow margins that come into play in mixed martial arts.

Procházka was just 28 seconds away from falling short of reaching the pinnacle in the UFC. While that likely make the celebrations even sweeter for the champ and his nation, it provides a bitter moment for Teixeira, whose storybook reign was cut short late in the day in Singapore.

With the result, the scene in Brno was similar to one seen in Teixeira’s home country last year following the success of Charles Oliveira. When returning to Guaruja, a favela in São Paulo, “Do Bronx” was showered with love and praise, an experience now enjoyed by Procházka.

Given the support and fanbase evident in the country, as well as the newfound success of its latest European star, perhaps the UFC will be convinced to cross the Atlantic for another event in the Czech Republic down the line.

The MMA leader visited the Central European country for the first time in 2019. The card, headlined by Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos, took place at the O2 Arena in Prague, the Czech capital.

While Blachowicz has called for a return to Poland for a stadium show to be headlined by him and Procházka, perhaps a return to the Czech Republic is also in order.

Should the UFC return to the Czech Republic for another card?

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