UFC’s No. 1 ranked heavyweight fighter Jan Błachowicz goes head to head with No. 3 ranked Aleksandar Rakić in a highly anticipated clash.
UFC VEGAS 54: BLACHOWICZ VS. RAKIC Fight Preview
Saturday, May 14, UFC Vegas 54 will be headlined by an Epic clash of two Light Heavyweight strikers as No. 1 ranked Jan Błachowicz (28-9) puts his legendary “Polish Power” against former kickboxing phenom No. 3 ranked Aleksandar Rakić (14-2) with possible title implications on the line.
This fight was originally supposed to take place back in March at UFC Columbus, but was rescheduled after Błachowicz was forced to withdraw due to an out of the blue neck injury. The 39 year old former LHW champ revealed to MMA Fighting “I wake up one of the Mondays, and I feel a pain in my neck, think maybe I just slept bad, and that’s why I felt the pain. In the gym , we did some drills, and I took one shot on my guard, and I felt a really hard pain in my neck, and i cannot feel my left hand and left side of my body.”
“It was completely off, paralyzed. Then I think, it’s not a normal pain. It’s something worse. I go to the doctor, we do an MRI and I have something in my neck that puts pressure on the nerve. That’s why I had this feeling I that I could not feel my left side”
Even coming off of such a debilitating injury it’s impossible to count out Błachowicz with heavy hands and durable chin. Besides his devastating power he’s known as a strong grappler with 9 of his victories coming via submission.
Błachowicz laid claim to the vacant LHW strap by defeating Dominick Reyes via TKO in 2020 before defending it against Israel Adesanya in a champion vs champion bout last March. He most recently fought in October where he lost his title due to submission to current champ Glover Teixeira.
The 30 year old Rakić honed his striking prowess with over a decade of kickboxing experience to develop his lightning reflexes. He holds victories over several notable light heavyweights including Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and a beautifully violent head kick KO of Jimi Manuwa. Factoring in Jan’s recent injury and the fact that father time is 9 years in his favor, this could be the fight Rakić needs to launch his stardom.
With Rakić’s ability to keep fighters at distance by utilizing his 6’4 frame and frequently whipping bone reverberating leg kicks that force opponents to think twice before stepping forward, it could be a painful opening round for Błachowicz who is prone to rushing in and chasing down his foes.
If Błachowicz can stay inside and grapple or dirty-box rather than playing a range game with longer, quicker, and more technical Rakić, he could have a chance to drag the fight into deep waters and rely on his championship experience.
This fight boils down to who takes advantage of space and controls the octagon. If Rakić chews up the lead leg of Błachowicz as he has so many of his opponents, slows his movement, and forces a point-style striking match, we could witness a changing of the guard. If not we may see experience and “Polish Power” prevail in this fireworks guaranteed spectacle.