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The main-event comes in the Light Heavyweight division, as the former Champion Jan Blachowicz takes on Aleksandar “Rocket” Rakic. Returning to the octagon for the first time since losing the Light Heavyweight Championship, Blachowicz will look to rebound here. Still ranked number one in the division, Blachowicz could very well be one victory away from a title shot. Meanwhile, Rakic comes into this fight a winner of two straight. Improving his UFC record to 6-1 with back-to-back wins over title challengers in Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, Rakic appears to be a victory over Blachowicz away from fighting for the title next.
As for a prediction, I have Blachowicz winning. While this a tough fight to call, I believe Blachowicz’s five round experience will loom large. Having recently lost his title, in a manner that included being taken down, Blachowicz seemingly was re-visited by old demons. One’s that saw Blachowicz lose four out of five fights early in his UFC tenure. However, to his credit, since that stretch of losses, Blachowicz has largely improved upon keeping the fight standing. In Blachowicz’s last eleven fights, he has shrugged off eighteen of twenty-two takedowns attempts – which includes Glover Teixeira’s two takedowns.
Given Rakic, who is a solid striker with legitimate power has resorted to wrestling of late, one could assume he may try to look to follow Teixeira’s blueprint. The one problem I foresee though for Rakic, is that he poses no submission threat. While it’s plausible he can rinse and repeat, I’m not so certain he can do such for five rounds. Blachowicz having fought for twenty-five minutes twice gives him a vast edge. One in which I see aiding Blachowicz to outlast Rakic, and win via TKO.