NEW YORK — UFC 295 looks a bit different than it was originally constructed. The highly anticipated heavyweight title main event between two of the top big men in UFC history, Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic, had to be scrapped last week when Jones suffered a pectoral tear.
The consolation prize is hardly a bad one.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jirí Procházka will face former middleweight titleholder Alex Pereira for the vacant UFC light heavyweight belt in the main event Saturday at Madison Square Garden. For the co-main event, the UFC quickly booked an interim heavyweight title fight between two of the best up-and-coming contenders in the world in the division, Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich.
Procházka (29-3-1) had to vacate the UFC light heavyweight title late in 2022 when he suffered a major shoulder injury. The Czech Republic-born fighter beat Glover Teixeira to win the belt in June 2022. Procházka, 32, has won 13 straight, including his first three in the UFC. He is known for his chaotic, exciting fighting style.
Pereira (8-2) made his light heavyweight debut in the UFC by beating former champ Jan Blachowicz by split decision at UFC 291 in July. The Brazilian-born fighter, who lives and trains in Connecticut, knocked out Israel Adesanya to win the UFC middleweight title at last year’s MSG show, before dropping the belt back to Adesanya in April. Pereira, 36, is a former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion and was recently inducted into that promotion’s Hall of Fame.
Also on the card, Mackenzie Dern will look to continue her women’s strawweight ascent against former champion Jessica Andrade; local fighter Matt Frevola takes on Benoit Saint-Denis in a battle of lightweight action fighters; and rising featherweights Diego Lopes and Pat Sabatini face off.
Follow along as Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi, Jeff Wagenheim and Dre Waters recap all the action or watch the fights live on ESPN+ PPV.