Jiri Prochazka offered one of the biggest breakaways in UFC history, pulling victory from the jaws of defeat 30 seconds from an epic battle with Glover Teixeira.
The new champion became the first Czech wrestler to have his belt around his waist after a legendary encounter that will go down in MMA history.
It seemed as if the light weights could not be separated, as the clock was ticking after 24 minutes and 30 seconds of relentless and convincing action.
But there was a final twist when Prochazka summoned energy somewhere in the interior to reverse the ground position and present one of the most dangerous jiu-jitsu practitioners in the UFC.
Jiri Prochazka (above) surprised Glover Teixeira with just 30 seconds left to win the title in Singapore at UFC 275
The new champion is the first in the Czech Republic and will be a big star in his homeland after his victory
It was emotional for Prochazka and his team, who congratulated him on Saturday night inside the Singapore octagon.
Brazilian Teixeira, 42, and Prochazka had moments when they looked like they would win before the end came late.
Teixeira had overtaken the scorecards after overcoming a struggling rocking at a breathless pace that tested the limit of the 42-year-old Brazilian and his European rival.
Teixeira defeated Prochazka twice in the first round and finished up in the second round. He landed on heavy ground and hit, but then slipped off his opponent’s back to give the Czech time to recover.
The challenger connected with some brutal attacks of his own to end it with a flourish.
In the second half Prochazka started to do everything his way with his feet and Teixeira seemed close to being out, but then the opponent made a clumsy mistake and ended up on the ground. The veteran finished the round in assembly and opened a massive cut above the eye.
Teixeira (pictured) insisted he still has a lot of struggle in him and said he will not retire despite losing his belt at 42 years old.
The Brazilian had Prochazka in all sorts of trouble, but the favorite managed to get out of a difficult terrain position.
Teixeira could not escape the final presentation and ended up playing quickly to stun the audience and sports fans.
Teixeira seemed on the verge of defeat but escaped a submission to reverse the position and finished the round up, landing ground and thundering pounds.
The fourth was carnage from start to finish. There were setbacks, attempts at submission, escapes and heavy artillery fired by the two men. He came in fifth and Teixeira connected with some incredible shots, which made Marc Goddard look at him closely.
Texeira was desperate to reverse his team’s fortunes in the game, and ordered his team to change strategy.
He locked himself in a stranger and Teixeira soon left. He ran with smoke and then looked devastated.
Jan Blachowicz seems like the next obvious aspirant, but Prochazka will need a long break after one of the most exhausting and damaging fights of his career.
It was an epic end to the night marked by memorable moments, especially on the main menu.
Prochazka’s heavy body traits were added together and the cardiovascular skills of both were severely tested in a five-round hematoma.
The new champion showed how creative and unpredictable he can be on his feet as well as showing off his iron chin
Teixeira was denied the presentations and the sweat of both men played an important role, making it difficult for him to close one.
Valentina Shevchenko was pushed to the limit by Taila Santos in one of her toughest fights. “The Bullet” clung to its flyweight title on the scorecards, but found itself overwhelmed on the ground on more than one occasion.
In the long-awaited resumption of Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili, there was an equally exciting upheaval in their 2020 fight of the year.
But then the Chinese star offered a moment of genius, connecting with a rotating fist to eliminate the former Polish champion.
For the 35-year-old, it was her last appearance in the octagon and she was thrilled to announce her retirement from MMA.
She said: “I’m proud of myself, I trained very hard every day, but during the media I said I was proud of it. I was caught with a good one, I didn’t expect it to be so hard and strong.
Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko (pictured above) clung to her title in a limited victory over Taila Santos on the scorecards
Zhang Weili of China (left) knocks out Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland (right) with a fist turned back in her main card fight
The Polish wrestler was thrown on the canvas – Weili knew the job was done, so he marched to a large reception of the crowd.
Weili will now have a chance to start against American Carla Esparza, 34, after returning to play against Jedrzejczyk.
‘Thanks to my coaches and fans and fellow coaches. I love life so much, I have retired guys, thank you very much. Dana, I’m sorry I let you down, man.
“I want to give a lot of credit to UFC employees, I love you guys. It’s been 20 years, I want to be a mother, an entrepreneur, I’ve trained for two decades, half my life.”
The Polish star will surely be a shoot-in for the Hall of Fame after dominating the division for years and raising the level of competition in the straw weight division.
UFC 275 was not the most glamorous or high profile numbered event for Dana White and Co, but those who saw Singapore’s indoor stadium in Kallang had incredible moments.
Prochazka’s victory will last a long time in memory, as well as the incredible 24 minutes and 30 seconds that precede it.
Prochazka will now become a big star and his success is without a doubt the main news in his home country, the Czech Republic.