Jan Blachowicz was looking to chop down Aleksandar Rakic with leg kicks, but it was ultimately a devastating knee injury that gave the former light heavyweight champion the win in UFC Vegas 54’s main event.
From the start of the fight, Blachowicz chipped away at Rakic with a series of nasty kicks to the calf, but as he pressed forward in the third round, the Austrian fighter took a step back and his knee just buckled. Rakic fell to the ground in obvious pain as the referee rushed in to stop the fight at 1:11 into the third round.
Although it wasn’t how he wanted, Blachowicz still can celebrate as he defeats another top competitor. He hopes to soon be able to fight for UFC Gold again.
” This is what I anticipate,” Blachowicz stated afterward. “The first round, something happened with my eye. The first round felt really good. It is an injury. S*** happens sometimes. It’s a pleasure to be back inside. I hope the UFC gives me the next title shot.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 15, 2022
With a chance to make a statement in the light heavyweight division, both fighters came out firing early, with Rakic opening a cut under Blachowicz’s eye during the first exchange with a right hand straight down the middle. Undeterred, Blachowicz came right back at him with a left to the body followed by a huge right over the top that snapped Rakic’s head back.
That’s when Blachowicz also started targeting the lead leg with a series of devastating calf kicks, which immediate did damage as Rakic switched stances to stave off the constant attacks. The Polish powerhouse used the kicks to then set up his hands as he began making Rakic pay with his boxing combinations.
With significant swelling in his leg, Rakic tried to take down Blachowicz with a head kick, but he was unable to resist a triangle choke attempt at the bottom. Once he escaped, however, Rakic started peppering away with punches from the top with Blachowicz stuck underneath him.
Rakic remained in control and dropped occasional elbows. Blachowicz was forced to defend his back up until the end of round 2.
A reset was performed on the feet for the third round. Blachowicz again focused his attention on the leg, and continued throwing with great force. There was significant swelling and bruising on the front of Rakic’s calf, showing how much damage Blachowicz inflicted throughout the fight.
As Blachowicz stepped into another combination with his hands, Rakic backed up — and that’s when his knee seemed to just give out on him.
Replays showed what appeared to be his knee popping as Rakic landed on his back foot, which led to him falling to the ground in agonizing pain.
Following the fight, Blachowicz shared some words of encouragement with Rakic and promised that he would become a champion one day.
As for the result in the fight, Blachowicz gets the win as he looks to jump right back into title contention after falling to Glover Teixeira to lose the belt this past October.
With Teixeira already calling for a rematch in the future, Blachowicz was more than happy to accept, as he’ll now root for the Brazilian to get a win of his own over Jiri Prochazka in the UFC 275 main event in June.
Let’s go @JanBlachowicz Win tonight…and I’ll win Jun 11…then we run it back
— glover teixeira (@gloverteixeira) May 15, 2022
“Glover. I keep my fingers crossed [crossed] in your direction,” Blachowicz stated. “I hope so we are going to fight again.”