Thursday, June 30, 2022

UFC 275 predictions — Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka: Fight card, odds, expert picks, prelims

UFC is ready for another PPV installment. The promotion heads to the other side of the globe for UFC 275, where the Octagon touches down in Kallang, Singapore. With it comes a pair of title fights fans are eager to see.

Light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira is set to put his title on the line for the first time when he takes on knockout artist Jiri Prochazka. Teixeira, 42, finally broke through on the title level last year when he stopped Jan Blachowicz. Prochazka will be making just his third appearance inside the Octagon.

Plus, women’s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko welcomes her latest challenger when she takes on Talia Santos. Shevchenko, 34, has looked unstoppable since moving down to 125 pounds in 2018. She’s scored eight straight wins with only two of those fights going the distance. 

Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news, including a complete preview of UFC 275 below.

With so much happening on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get to our staff predictions and picks for the PPV portion of the festivities.

UFC 275 fight card, odds

  • Jiri Prochazka -200 vs. Glover Teixeira (c) +170, light heavyweight championship
  • Valentina Shevchenko (c) -625 vs. Taila Santos +450, women’s flyweight championship
  • Zhang Weili -165 vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk +140, women’s strawweight
  • Andre Fiahlo -145 vs. Jake Matthews +120, welterweight
  • Jack Della Maddalena -160 vs. Ramazan Emeev +135, welterweight

  • Seung Woo Choi -240 vs. Joshua Culibao +200, featherweight
  • Brendan Allen -300 vs. Jacob Malkoun +240, middleweight
  • Steve Garcia -170 vs. Hayisaer Maheshate +145, lightweight
  • Batgerel Danaa -135 vs. Kang Kyung-ho +115, bantamweight

  • Silvana Juarez -140 vs. Na Liang +120, women’s strawweight
  • Joselyne Edwards -175 vs. Ramona Pascual +150, women’s bantamweight

With such a massive main event on tap, the crew at CBS Sports went ahead with predictions and picks for the main card. Here are your pick makers: Brent Brookhouse (Combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (Combat sports writer, co-host of “Morning Kombat”), Shakiel Mahjouri (writer), Michael Mormile (producer) and Brandon Wise (senior editor).

UFC 275 picks, predictions

Teixeira (c) vs. Prochazka Teixeira Prochazka Teixeira Teixeira Prochazka
Shevchenko (c) vs. Santos Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko
Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk Zhang Zhang Zhang Jedrzejczyk Zhang
Fialho vs. Matthews Fialho Fialho Failho
Maddalena vs. Emeev Maddalena Maddalena Maddalena Maddalena Maddalena
Records to date (2022) 11-13 12-12 10-14 14-10 14-10

Teixeira vs. Prochazka

Campbell: To be fair, the combination of Texiera’s age and Prochazka destructive power means the 42-year-old defending champion will never truly be at ease for as long as their light heavyweight title tilt lasts. But that doesn’t mean Prochazka isn’t beatable. In fact, the Czech slugger is so unorthodox — and often reckless — in his approach that he regularly takes on heavy damage in order to land and is no stranger to making technical mistakes. This could prove to be Kryptonite for Prochazka against someone as efficient as this version of Teixeira. Should the champion be able to take this fight to the ground, it isn’t impossible for the bout to end the same way it did when Teixiera relieved Jan Blachowicz of his title in 2021. Texieira will need to walk through hell at times, which is why he’s the betting underdog. But from the standpoint of skill versus skill, this is a fight he can win.

Brookhouse: Doubting Texiera is a silly thing to do at this point. And, given I picked him to beat Blachowicz, it would feel somewhat dishonest to think he has suddenly “gotten old” since that fight. Texiera is a man who defies logic in that way. Prochazka is a force of nature, though. He hits hard and he hits from angles that often don’t make any sense. Yes, that means he often makes mistakes that could badly cost him in a fight against a crafty veteran. But it seems Prochazka is such an overwhelming force when his offense gets rolling that I imagine the champ is going to struggle to keep up.

Shevchenko vs. Santos

Campbell: As a 4-1 underdog, Santos has enjoyed the closest odds of any of Shevchenko’s seven title challengers and has the type of all-around game that makes her both a fresh and interesting challenge to the champion’s impressive reign. What Santos appears to be lacking, however, is that one dominant skill capable of fueling an upset. The reason why that’s important is because the native of Brazil also isn’t fighting a regular champion, she’s fighting someone in Shevchenko who is the closest thing going today to a perfect fighter without flaws, especially when competing at her natural weight of 125 pounds. 

Zhang vs. Jedrzejczyk

Campbell: The main question heading into this second helping of the greatest female action fight in UFC history is which fighter enters the rematch as the fresher fighter. Zhang is two years younger than Jedrzejczyk at 32, but has fought twice since their first meeting in 2020 and lost both of them to Rose Namajunas, including one via head-kick knockout in the first round. But even though Jedrzejczyk appears refreshed from her time off, it’s Zhang who has noticeably added to her game in the meantime, including a deeper commitment to wrestling shown in her close rematch loss to Namajunas. Something has to give in this rematch, which is scheduled for three rounds. And the fact that Zhang simply has more ways to win than Jedrezjeczyk (while also being the bigger striker of the two) could be the difference.

Brookhouse: While Jedrzejczyk has been on the sidelines since the first fight between the two, Zhang has been training for high-level fights with Rose Namajunas. Given Zhang already had the slight edge two years ago, it’s hard to imagine that the very visible improvements in her game give her a much stronger edge the second time around. Jedrzejczyk is something of a mystery coming in as we simply have no idea what to expect, if the time off helped her or if she’s going to be rusty against a dangerous and highly skilled fighter. That’s too many questions for me and it shades things toward Zhang.

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