Jiri Prochazka asks Alex Pereira not to use rituals before UFC 303 title fight

Jiri Prochazka has called on Alex Pereira not to use “rituals” or “spiritual things” ahead of their UFC 303 main event.

Pereira stopped Prochazka in November to claim the vacant light-heavyweight title, and the Brazilian will defend the belt against the Czech on Saturday (29 June).

Prochazka is known for his commitment to samurai teachings, but he believes that Pereira’s own pre-fight preparation may be giving him an unfair advantage.

“I think he believes in a lot of things, the help of spiritual things,” said the former champion this week, speaking on The MMA Hour. “That’s something that I think he can’t fight without.

“I want to keep that in a clear line: just sport performance, pure performance, man versus man. I think he doesn’t know how to fight without [spiritual guidance], because he uses these things every time.

“Everybody knows he’s working with some shamans from his hometown. He believes in some spiritual help from them. I believe, too, but I believe in the best human performance – right here, right now, without magic.

“It’s working [for him], but I believe in a clear way; I want to win in that way.”

Prochazka, 31, doubled down on the claim on Wednesday, during the UFC 303 media day.

“Everybody knows that, and he’s doing these rituals before the fight,” he said. “Everybody can feel what’s around him and what’s going on.

Alex Pereira (left) stopped Jiri Prochazka in round two in November (Getty Images)
Alex Pereira (left) stopped Jiri Prochazka in round two in November (Getty Images)

“And I think Alex can’t fight without that [...] Right now, this is my challenge to him: If we can fight in a clear way, to be without other things. Let the higher power be there in the cage to see who’s the best in the world in pure performance.”

Prochazka won the light-heavyweight title in 2022 but vacated the belt later that year due to injury. Jamahal Hill then claimed the vacant title in 2023 but also relinquished it due to injury.

Prochazka then faced Pereira, a former middleweight champion, for the vacant title in November. Pereira won via second-round TKO.

The 36-year-old retained the belt against Hill at UFC 300 in April, knocking out the former champion in round one. On the same night, Prochazka stopped Aleksandar Rakic to establish himself as the No 1 contender at 205lb.