Blachowicz wins by TKO after Rakic ​​injured his knee

Jan BlachovichThe journey back to the UFC title is off to a weird start. But the former champion will definitely take it.

Defeated Blachowicz Aleksandar Rakic He crossed TKO at 1:11 of the third round after Rakić injured his right knee. Blachowicz got on the mix and Rakic ​​took a step back. When he planted his right hind leg, the knee appeared to be plump. Rakic ​​immediately came down and judged Mark Smith I stepped up to call the match.

Earlier in the week, Blachowicz described his desire to reclaim the UFC Light Heavyweight title by likening him to Gollum from the “Lord of the Rings” movies trying to get the prized ring. In a division where it is not easy to win, Blachović was not too ashamed of this victory. And he did well until the end.

“He got hurt, that’s what it is,” Blachovich said in his post-fight interview. “I can’t wait to get in again with that kind of feeling, with that joy. And I hope the UFC will give me the next shot.”

This was Blachowicz’s first fight since dropping the light heavyweight title to Glover Teixeira By introducing the second round at UFC 267 last October. Entering it, ESPN had Blachowicz ranked second and Rakic ​​ranked fifth in the world in the light heavyweight division.

Blachowicz had plenty of success in the first round with his low kicks in Rakic’s left calf. By the end of the tour, Rakić had swelling and several hematomas in his calf. Rakic ​​went on a takedown and got it in the second round, likely due to how bad his main leg was.

“This is our secret weapon,” Blachovich said. “In the gym we always kick it… I knew he was slowing down, slowing down, slowing down.”

Rakic ​​opened a slit on the inside of Blachović’s left eye in the first round with a gentle header and made a solid action to the ground in the second round. In the third, Blachowicz was doing well on his feet, landing a combination of punches—left hook to the body and right hook to head—successfully, as well as leg kicks.

Blachowicz (28-9) has a five-game winning streak that Teixeira cut last year. The Polish-born fighter Dominic Reyes To win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 253 in September 2020 and then successfully defend it against the middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 in March of 2021. Blachowicz, 39, has won 10 of his past 12 fights.

Rakic ​​(14-3) was out of a unanimous decision to win Thiago Santos at UFC 259 and won twice in a row before Saturday. The Austrian of Serbian descent has won six of the eight UFC fights overall. Rakic, 30, is considered one of the top MMA prospects to come from Central Europe.