Final Preventing Championship (UFC) Gentle Heavyweight skills Aleksandar Rakic and Jan Blachowicz will conflict TONIGHT (Sat., Could 14, 2022) at UFC Vegas 54 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Have been it not for the judges going in opposition to him in a 2019 split-decision loss, Rakic might simply be driving a seven-fight win streak and undefeated within the Octagon general. Because it stands, the 30-year-old contender is without doubt one of the division’s greatest long run prospects, a current addition to the ranks of the elite who seems primed to be an issue for the established guard. Blachowicz’s title loss wasn’t fairly as stunning as his title run, however the former champion’s upset loss to Glover Teixeira shook up the division fairly a bit. Together with his 40s quick approaching, Blachowicz has to show tonight that “Polish Energy” stays a risk at Gentle Heavyweight.
Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the keys to victory for every man:
Key Wins: Thiago Santos (UFC 259), Anthony Smith (UFC Vegas 8), Jimi Manuwa (UFC Battle Night time 153), Devin Clark (UFC 231)
Key Losses: Volkan Oezdemir (UFC Battle Night time 165)
Keys to Victory: Rakic is without doubt one of the most bodily gifted fighters at 205-pounds. Tall, sturdy, and well-conditioned, Rakic is a tough man to take care of at Gentle Heavyweight, and his attributes are matched by stable Muay Thai and prime management abilities.
It is a actually attention-grabbing combat, as a result of on paper, Rakic doesn’t have any actual technical benefit over Blachowicz. If he tries to play it like a degree sparring match — like within the Santos victory — Rakic will most likely get touched up, and I don’t know that Rakic has the wrestling to simply drag Blachowicz down alongside the fence.
Rakic’s benefits are in his youth and conditioning. Blachowicz has been outhustled previously, and he’s practically a decade older. Rakic must forego his current threat averse technique, however pursuing a conflict of attrition will possible profit him in the long term. Pressure Blachowicz to defend onerous kicks, takedown makes an attempt, and clinch elbows continually, and Rakic might begin to take over within the latter half of the combat.
In different phrases, make it ugly!
Typically, Rakic will need this combat to principally happen exterior the pocket, which means at kicking vary or within the clinch. We’ll speak about that from Jan’s perspective in only a second …
Key Wins: Israel Adesanya (UFC 259), Dominick Reyes (UFC 253), Corey Anderson (UFC Battle Night time 167), Luke Rockhold (UFC 239), Jimi Manuwa (UFC Battle Night time 127), Nikita Krylov (UFC Battle Night time 136), Jared Cannonier (UFC on FOX 26), Ronaldo Souza (UFC Battle Night time 164)
Key Losses: Glover Teixeira (UFC 267), Thiago Santos (UFC Battle Night time 145), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC Battle Night time 93), Corey Anderson (UFC 191)
Keys to Victory: Blachowicz is a fighter who gained tons of expertise and talent all through a protracted profession vs. robust opponents, then he all of the sudden discovered his knockout energy and a subsequent burst of confidence. A tough veteran who hasn’t but fallen off bodily, Blachowicz has constructed up one hell of a resume.
That is actually a battle of European Muay Thai guys. Each Blachowicz and Rakic use most of the similar techniques, the identical setups for kicks and counters. There may be, nevertheless, one key distinction between the 2 that would completely dictate each change: the jab.
Blachowicz jabs, and he jabs nicely, constructing his kickboxing assault off that weapon. Rakic, on the flip aspect, makes use of his jab like some other punch. It’s a weapon that may do harm, however Rakic depends on his kicks to seek out vary and setup the remainder of his hanging arsenal.
Rakic’s relative lack of jab doesn’t imply Blachowicz can simply throw jabs and win simply. No, he needs to be terribly cautious of Rakic’s calf kick counters, which instantly destroyed Smith and Justin Ledet’s makes an attempt to determine the lead hand. For Blachowicz, the important thing will likely be establishing the jab with out getting his leg destroyed, and the trail to doing that entails feinting and punishing low kick makes an attempt.
If Blachowicz can set up the tempo and rhythm of this combat with the jab, he’s prone to win clearly.
One man leaves tonight’s foremost occasion as a title contender.
Relying on how the division shakes out, Rakic may simply earn a title shot with a win. He’s already within the High 5, so defeating a current champion to cap off a three-fight win streak can be onerous to disregard … if it’s a very good combat. Worst case, Rakic might discover himself in a title eliminator vs. Magomed Ankalaev subsequent.
The stakes are actual excessive right here for Blachowicz, who can’t afford a second consecutive defeat. Victory additionally possible places him throughout from Ankalaev, which means he’s two wins away from a shot at regaining the belt. If he loses earlier than then, the percentages of Blachowicz getting a second probability at gold actually drop off.
That’s the truth of being the older contender.
At UFC Vegas 54, Aleksandar Rakic and Jan Blachowicz will go to conflict in the principle occasion. Which man can have his hand raised?
Do not forget that MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of your complete UFC Vegas 54 combat card proper here, beginning with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, that are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining foremost card steadiness (on ESPN2/ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
To take a look at the newest and best UFC Vegas 54: “Blachowicz vs. Rakic” information and notes make sure to hit up our complete occasion archive proper right here.