Jan Blachowicz was looking to take down Aleksandar Rakic with leg kicks, but it was ultimately a devastating knee injury that gave the former light heavyweight champion the victory in the main event of the UFC Vegas 54.
From the start of the fight, Blachowicz chipped Rakic with a series of nasty calf kicks, but as he advanced into round three, the Austrian fighter took a step back and his knee just twisted out of shape. Rakic fell to the ground in obvious pain as the referee rushed to stop the fight at 1:11 of the third round.
Although it’s probably not how he wanted to win, Blachowicz can still celebrate his victory as he defeats another top contender, in the hopes that he will soon have the chance to compete for the title again. UFC gold.
“That’s what I expect,” Blachowicz said afterwards. “The first round, something happened with my eye. But I think the first round was really good. He has an injury, that’s how it is. Shit happens sometimes. I can’t wait to get in at again. I hope the UFC gives me the next shot at the title.
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 in 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.
It was then that Blachowicz also began targeting the lead leg with a series of devastating calf kicks, which immediately did damage as Rakic changed stance to ward off the constant attacks. The Polish powerhouse used the kicks to then set up his hands as he began to charge Rakic with his boxing combinations.
With significant swelling on his leg, Rakic looked for a takedown from a headbutt attempt to slow Blachowicz, although he had to fight off a triangle choke attempt from below. Once he got away, however, Rakic started throwing punches from the top with Blachowicz pinned under him.
Rakic kept control, dropping occasional elbows and having Blachowicz defend on his back until the end of the second round.
With a reset on the feet to start the third, Blachowicz again targeted the leg and launched with tremendous force behind each kick. There was significant swelling and bruising on the front of Rakic’s calf, showing the damage Blachowicz inflicted throughout the fight.
As Blachowicz went into another combination with his hands, Rakic backed off – and that’s when his knee just seemed to give way on him.
Replays showed what appeared to be his knee popping as Rakic landed on his back foot, causing him to fall to the ground in excruciating pain.
After the fight, Blachowicz shared some words of encouragement with Rakic and promised that he would one day become champion.
As for the outcome of the fight, Blachowicz takes the win as he looks to get right back into title contention after falling to Glover Teixeira to lose the belt last October.
With Teixeira already calling for a rematch in the future, Blachowicz was more than happy to agree, as he will now be cheering on the Brazilian to earn his own victory over Jiri Prochazka in the main event of UFC 275 in June.
let’s go @JanBlachowicz Win tonight…and I’ll win June 11…then we’ll relaunch it
– glover teixeira (@gloverteixeira) May 15, 2022
“Glover, I keep my fingers [crossed] for you,” Blachowicz said. “I hope we will fight again.”