Jan Blachowicz wanted to take down Aleksandar Rakic with leg kicks, but ultimately it was a devastating knee injury that gave the former light heavyweight champion the UFC Vegas 54 main event win.
From the start of the fight, Blachowicz slammed into Rakic with a series of nasty kicks in the calf, but as he pushed forward in the third round, the Austrian fighter took a step back and his knee just gave out. Rakic fell to the ground in obvious pain as the referee rushed in to end the fight at 1:11 of the third round.
While it probably wasn’t the way he wanted to win, Blachowicz is still able to celebrate his win while beating another top contender in hopes he gets another chance to fight for UFC gold soon.
“I expect that,” said Blachowicz afterwards. “Something happened to my eye on the first lap. But I think the first lap was really good. He has an injury, it is what it is. S*** happens sometimes. I can’t wait to go back inside. I hope the UFC gives me the next title chance.”
With a chance to make a statement at light heavyweight, both fighters came out early, with Rakic inflicting a cut below Blachowicz’s eye on the first exchange with a right hand right down the middle. Undeterred, Blachowicz came straight back at him with a left cross, followed by a massive right over the top that snapped Rakic’s head back.
It was also at this point that Blachowicz began hitting the lead leg with a series of devastating calf kicks that dealt instant damage as Rakic switched stances to parry the constant attacks. The Polish powerhouse capitalized on the kicks only to then put his hands up as he started making Rakic pay with his boxing combos.
With significant swelling on his leg, Rakic looked for a headkick attempt to slow Blachowicz after a takedown, though he had to parry a triangle choke attempt from below. However, once he escaped, Rakic began firing away with punches from above, with Blachowicz pinned beneath him.
Rakic maintained control, occasionally dropping elbows and forcing Blachowicz to fend off his back until the second round ended.
With a reset on his feet early in the third, Blachowicz aimed for the leg again, throwing behind every kick with tremendous power. There was significant swelling and bruising on the front of Rakic’s calf, showing just how much damage Blachowicz inflicted during the fight.
As Blachowicz kicked his hands into a different combo, Rakic backed away – and that’s when his knee just seemed to give out.
Replays showed 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 one day he would become a champion.
As for the outcome of the fight, Blachowicz takes the win as he looks to jump right back into the title fight after falling to lose the belt to Glover Teixeira last October.
With Teixeira already demanding a rematch in the future, Blachowicz gladly accepted as he will now be cheering for the Brazilian’s own win over Jiri Prochazka in the UFC 275 main event in June.
let’s go @JanBlachowicz Win tonight… and I win on June 11…then we run back
– Gloverteixeira (@gloverteixeira) May 15, 2022
“Glover, I’ll hold my fingers [crossed] for you,” said Blachowicz. “I hope we will fight again.”