The last time the UFC was in Singapore, Demian Maia got a submission victory over Ben Askren, a figure now known mainly for being knocked out with five seconds by Jorge Masvidal and getting slept by Jake Paul rather than his career as an expert grappler.
This time round, we’re likely to see some more action as Singapore hosts it’s first numbered UFC event. The titles on offer? The light heavyweight crown, currently in the possession of Brazilian-American Glover Teixeira, and the women’s flyweight belt, presently in the dangerous hands of Valentina Shevchenko.
It’s set to be a blockbuster occasion after a busy fight week involving the ‘Road to UFC’ competition between the continent’s prospects, which is available to watch on Fight Pass on the 9th and 10th of June.
Where: Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore
When: Saturday June 12th 2022
How To Watch: Prelims live from 11:30pm BST live on UFC Fight Pass, Main Card from 3am, live on BT Sport.
Teixeira vs Prochazka
Glover Teixeira’s journey to the top has been a long one. He left Brazil to help support his family back in 1999, working as a landscaper in Connecticut before being inspired by Mike Tyson and Chuck Liddell to learn how to box. He was inspired by the UFC’s events and began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing before impressing his opponents, which led to an invite to The Pit where he trained with his idol, Chuck Liddell.
Since joining the company in 2012, he’s fought some of the biggest and best names in the sport, including Jon Jones, Rashad Evans and most recently a win over Jan Blachowicz that got him the belt. His incredible power in the stand-up combined with extremely effective BJJ on the ground make him a tough challenge for any fighter.
Jiri Prochazka, or the Czech Samurai if you want his ring name, is a relatively new prospect in comparison to Teixeira. The first Rizin light heavyweight champion in Japan, Prochazka is a lethal kickboxing aficionado who combines his show-stopping kicks with razor sharp elbows and knees.
Inspired by Mirko Cro Cop, Fedor Emilianenko and the 2008 film ‘Never Back Down’ featuring Sean Faris, Amber Heard and Evan Peters, he immediately grabbed the attention of fight fans thanks to his unique haircut and his award winning knockout against Volkan Oezdemir.
Another win came against Dominic Reyes and Prochazka now finds himself in a title fight after just two UFC appearances. His time in Rizin may have accelerated his journey to the top but he continues to astound whenever he fights.
The longer this fight goes on, the more likely it is that Teixeira will take Prochazka to the ground due to a lack of stamina in comparison to his younger opponent, who is his junior by 13 years.
Shevchenko vs Santos
Valentina Shevchenko is an impressive human being. Born to parents that were both the president of Kyrgyzstan’s national Muay Thai association and a member of the Soviet Royal Navy & part-time footballer for the Kyrgiz’ men’s national football team, Shevchenko was always destined for a career in the fighting industry. 90+ amateur & pro wins in K-1 alongside a degree in film directing took her to Peru, where she taught Muay Thai.
She finally arrived at the UFC in 2015, fighting and defeating Sarah Kaufman on short notice and has been destroying the division since. Two fights against Amanda Nunes left her short in attempting to be the top dog in the pound-for-pound rankings but hasn’t put a foot wrong other than those two fights. Her counter-striking is artful and exciting to watch and those who haven’t seen ‘Bullet’ fight before are in for a treat.
Her opponent, Taila Santos was also brought up by a Muay Thai coach. The Brazilian’s father coached her to what has so far been an incredibly successful career, starting in local events ran by her dad before moving to bigger and better contests in her homeland. In 10 of her first 11 bouts, she won within a single round, however since making the jump to the UFC via the Dana White contender series, she’s gone the distance all but once. She bounced back from a split decision loss to Mara Romero Borrella with wins over Molly McCann, Roxanne Modaferi and Joanne Wood to set her up for a title challenge.
Shevchenko will likely remain the hottest property in women’s MMA, and after seeing her old opponent Amanda Nunes become complacent and lose her belt to Julianna Pena, she will more than likely turn up the heat against Santos.
Zhang vs Jędrzejczyk
Another fascinating bout arrives from the women’s strawweight division. Two former champions meet in a rematch that guarantees the victor another shot at the belt they used to wear. We saw this fight initially at UFC 248 back in March 2020, on the same night where Israel Adesanya defeated Yoel Romero in one of the least exciting title fights in many years.
Zhang and Joanna delivered however. The pair are known for their incredible power and workrates, with Zhang Weili collecting the scalps of her opponent, Jessica Andrade (in 42 seconds) and Tecia Torres on the way to lifting the title. The first fight between the two earned numerous plaudits as one of the best fights of all-time, a fight that would be deemed too perfect for poetry if you were to describe it. A majestic tug of war that has brought the two back together again. If you don’t remember the first fight, just Google ‘Joanna Jedrzejczyk haematoma’ and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
This card was almost going to reach an explosive peak, as Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori were scheduled to fight on it however the Australian withdrew due to injury and now we have to wait until September. There’s plenty of up and coming stars however, with DWCS alum Jack Della Maddalena arriving on the back of a dominating win over Pete Rodriguez at UFC 270.
Chinese lightweight Maheshate is also one to watch. Standing at six-feet tall in the lightweight division is quite a sight, and facing off against a veteran in Steve Garcia should provide a decent challenge for the 22-year-old.
The Full Card
Glover Teixeira © vs Jiri Prochazka (Light Heavyweight)
Valentina Shevchenko © vs Taila Santos (W Flyweight)
Zhang Weili vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk (W Strawweight)
Rogerio Bontorin vs Manel Kape (Flyweight)
Jack Della Maddalena vs Ramazan Emeev (Welterweight)
Seungwoo Choi vs Josh Culibao (Featherweight)
Brendan Allen vs Jacob Malkoun (Middleweight)
Maheshate vs Steve Garcia (Lightweight)
Andre Fialho vs Jake Matthews (Welterweight)
Kyung Ho Kang vs Batgerel Danaa (Bantamweight)
Liang Na vs Silvana Juarez (W Strawweight)
Ramona Pascual (W Featherweight)