The UFC is officially without a light heavyweight champion for the second time in less than a year. Late last night, light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill (12-1, 1 NC) announced that he ruptured his achilles and will be out for a considerable amount of time.
Hill will require surgery and extensive rehab before he’s ready to step back inside the octagon. It’ll likely be at least a year before we see Hill back inside the octagon. Hill said that the UFC has assured him that he will step right into a title shot upon returning from injury.
As mentioned, this is the second time in less than a year that the title has been vacated. Last December, Jiri Prochazka (29-3-1) was supposed to defend his light heavyweight title but suffered a serious shoulder injury. Because he didn’t want to hold up the division, he vacated the title so the show could go on.
Hill ended up facing Glover Teixeira in January where he won the vacant UFC title. In the spirit of what Prochazka did, Hill decided to follow that plan and vacate the belt as well. Word is that the promotion was closing in on a date for the Hill – Prochazka title fight when the injury occurred.
Later this month at UFC 291, there’s a massive light heavyweight fight. Former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1) is taking on former middleweight champion Alex Pereira (7-2). This fight is currently scheduled for three rounds.
The UFC could make this fight a vacant title fight and make it five rounds if both men agree. Or, they could simply come out and say that the winner will face Jiri Prochazka for the vacant light heavyweight title later this year. With UFC 291 only a few weeks away, my guess is that latter might be the choice.
Time will tell, but I expect to hear something from the promotion over the weekend about what the plans will be for the light heavyweight title. One other possibility is Prochazka fighting someone like Magomed Ankalaev for a vacant title if the winner of Pereira – Blachowicz can’t turn around quick enough.