Boxing

Pereira uses rituals to win fights – Prochazka

Pereira uses rituals to win fights - Prochazka

Pereira (right) beat Prochazka (left) in November when the pair fought for the vacant light-heavyweight title [Getty Images]

Jiri Prochazka claimed Alex Pereira uses "rituals" to win bouts as he challenged the light-heavyweight champion to fight without spiritual help at UFC 303 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

In a pre-fight news conference, Prochazka was clarifying accusations he made on Ariel Helwani's MMA Hour, where he bizarrely said Pereira is aided by "magic and shamans".

Czech fighter Prochazka, 31, is attempting to avenge his defeat by Pereira in November, when he was stopped by the 36-year-old Brazilian in the second round.

"Everybody knows he is doing these rituals before the fight," said Prochazka.

"Everybody can feel that, what's around him and going on. I think Alex can't fight without that. Let's see, right now this is my challenge to him – if we can fight in a clear way in this case, to be without some other things…

"Let the higher power be there in the cage to see who is the best in the world in the performance, in the pure performance."

Pereira, who will be making the second defence of his title, was stoic when asked to respond to Prochazka's comments.

"Everybody has their own spirits, we're not only made of flesh and bone," said Pereira.

"I have found mine. If he has not found his or he does not believe, it is not my fault."

The pair have stepped in at late notice to headline at the T-Mobile Arena after Conor McGregor pulled out of his fight with Michael Chandler with a broken toe.

It is the second time in three months that former middleweight champion Pereira has headlined a landmark event after topping the card for his win over Jamahal Hill at UFC 300 in April.

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