Jan Blachowicz wanted to knock Aleksandar Rakic down with leg kicks, but it was ultimately a devastating knee injury that gave the former light heavyweight champion victory in the main event of UFC Vegas 54.
From the start of the fight, Blachowicz broke Rakic off with a series of vicious kicks to the calf, but when he pushed forward on the third round, the Austrian fighter stepped back and his knee simply gave way. Rakic fell to the ground in apparent pain as the referee rushed in to stop the fight at 1:11 into the third round.
While it probably wasn’t the way he wanted to win, Blachowicz can still celebrate his win while beating another top contender in the hopes that he’ll soon have the chance to fight for UFC gold again.
“This is what I expect,” Blachowicz said afterwards. “On the first lap something happened to my eye. But I feel like the first lap was really good. He has an injury, it is what it is. S*** happens sometimes. I can’t wait to step back inside. I hope the UFC gives me the next title shot.”
With a chance to make a statement in the light heavyweight division, both fighters came out early, with Rakic opening a cut under Blachowicz’s eye with a right hand straight through the center during the first exchange. 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.
Then Blachowicz also started targeting the lead leg with a series of devastating calf kicks, dealing immediate damage as Rakic switched stances to avert the constant attacks. The Polish powerhouse used the kicks to then raise his hands as he started making Rakic pay with his boxing combinations.
With significant swelling on his leg, Rakic looked for a takedown after attempting to slow down Blachowicz, though he had to stall a triangular choking attempt from the bottom. However, once he escaped, Rakic started stomping away with punches from above with Blachowicz below.
Rakic kept in control, occasionally dropping elbows and letting Blachowicz defend on his back until round two ended.
With a reset on the feet to start the third, Blachowicz again aimed for the leg and threw behind each kick with tremendous force. There was significant swelling and bruising on the front of Rakic’s calf, showing how much damage Blachowicz inflicted during the fight.
When Blachowicz stepped his hands into another combination, Rakic backed off — and in that moment his knee just seemed to give it to him.
Replays showed what appeared to be his knee popping as Rakic landed on his back foot, leading to him falling to the ground in excruciating pain.
After the fight, Blachowicz shared some encouraging words with Rakic and promised that one day he would become champion.
As for the result in the fight, Blachowicz takes the win as he aims to jump straight back into the title fight after falling to Glover Teixeira last October to lose the title.
With Teixeira already pleading for a rematch in the future, Blachowicz was more than happy to accept, as he will now plead for the Brazilian himself to take a win over Jiri Prochazka in the UFC 275 main event in June.
Let’s go @JanBlachowicz Win tonight…and I win June 11th…then we’ll do it back
— glovemaker teixeira (@gloverteixeira) May 15, 2022
“Glover, I Hold Fingers” [crossed] for you,” Blachowicz said. “I hope we will fight again.”