Near the midway point of the UFC Vegas 54 main event, Aleksandar Rakic suffered a freak injury, giving Jan Blachowicz the victory.
With the UFC’s light heavyweight title being defended next month in Singapore, there was no time like the present for the next contender to emerge, care of a statement victory. At UFC Vegas 54, ex-champ Jan Blachowicz and #3-ranked Aleksandar Rakic had just such an opportunity.
Blachowicz went to a leg kick to start the fight and Rakic started with a body kick. Quickly, Blachowicz was bloodied due to a right hand from Rakic. Rakic was throwing with force down the middle, but couldn’t connect cleanly as Blachowicz stayed out of reach. A clean right landed for Blachowicz as his bloody eye continued to bother him. Blachowicz was finding success with a body-head combination as Rakic was still trying to find the range. A lengthy combination connected for Blachowicz that Rakic stopped by grabbing a hold of Blachowicz. A jab landed for Rakic after Blachowicz came up short with a combination. Both men landed big right hands after a brief takedown attempt by Rakic. Neither fighter was able to land anything of significance in the final 30 seconds. The cut for Blachowicz appeared to be inside and below the left eye of the former champion.
Rakic started the second round with a few leg kicks. Blachowicz went high with a kick that Rakic caught, sweeping the leg to land a takedown. Blachowicz then tried to counter with a triangle choke and Rakic slipped out, settling in full guard. With less than two minutes left in the round and after some control by Rakic, Blachowicz tried working his way up the fence. Rakic held on and made it difficult for his opponent to do so, keeping him grounded through the end of the round.
Rakic started the third round with a jab, then another that knocked the mouthpiece of Blachowicz loose. After action resumed, Rakic stepped back after a jab and injured his knee, immediately falling to the ground and ending the fight. A fight that Rakic was winning.
Jan Blachowicz def. Aleksandar Rakic by TKO (Knee Injury) in Round 3 (1:11)