UFC Fight Night time: When does Blachowicz vs Rakic start in UK and US this weekend?
Blachowicz (29-9) was stepping into the Octagon for the first time since losing the light heavyweight title in October, while Rakic (14-3) had not competed in 14 months.
It was expected that the winner of the bout would have a strong claim to challenge for the belt in their next outing, with Glover Teixeira – the man who dethroned Blachowicz – set to defend the gold against Jiri Prochazka in June.
Blachowicz, 39, may yet get a chance to regain the title, but the Pole’s victory over Rakic was not the statement he wanted, with the Austrian, 30, succumbing to a knee injury in the third round. The contest was finely poised up until that point.
“A great battle took place in the octogan tonight but unfortunately it ended not the way Jan and I or the fans wanted,” Rakic later wrote on Instagram.
“The same damn injury from 3 weeks ago in camp showed up again tonight. I felt I won both rounds, round one being close but round two was just mine then I opened up really good even in the third before my knee buckled.
“Knowing the fact that my cardio was off the chart ( with a heart beat at 36 in sleep ) I would start to picking him apart from third round on but it is what it is.
“Congratulation to Jan and I wish him the best. I will take care of this injury and come back like you never seen me before. This is a unfinished fight between Jan and I and I really hope @ufc gives me a REMATCH.”
Jan Blachowicz def. Aleksandar Rakic via third-round TKO (injury, 1:11)
Ryan Spann def. Ion Cutelaba via first-round submission (guillotine choke, 2:22)
Davey Grant def. Louis Smolka via third-round TKO (punches, 0:49)
Katlyn Chookagian def. Amanda Ribas via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Manuel Torres def. Frank Camacho via first-round TKO (punches, 3:27)
Allan Nascimento def. Jake Hadley via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Viviane Araujo def. Andrea Lee via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
Michael Johnson def. Alan Patrick via second-round KO (punches, 3:22)
Virna Jandiroba def. Angela Hill via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Tatsuro Taira def. Carlos Candelario via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Andre Petroski def. Nick Maximov via first-round submission (anaconda choke, 1:16)