Top UFC light heavyweight contenders Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic went toe-to-toe for two intense rounds before an injury forced an unfortunate end early in the third frame.
After planting his right leg, Rakic fell to the ground in clear pain, rendering him unable to continue, and Blachowicz earned a TKO victory at the 1:11 mark of round three in the main event of the UFC’s event. Saturday on ESPN 36 at the apex of the UFC in Las Vegas.
The two heavy hitters wasted little time getting involved early in the contest, exchanging punches and kicks at close range. Rakic drew blood in the first minute with a jab that broke Blachowicz’s left eye, and also bit into his opponent’s lead leg with nasty low kicks. The former champion stood his ground, scoring with a strong left hand of his own later in the frame and also damaging Rakic’s legs with repeated chopping blows.
Rakic opened the second with a quick takedown, then worked his way through some submission attempts to establish the top spot. Blachowicz did his best to stay active below, but Rakic was able to hold the dominant spot until the end of the frame.
As the two looked to meet again in the third, Rakic’s right leg visibly undulated from an apparent snapping ligament, and he fell awkwardly to the canvas. Blachowicz showed restraint by refusing to attack a wounded enemy, but with Rakic unable to defend himself, referee Mark Smith called off the contest.
Scroll to Continue
With the win, former light heavyweight champion Blachowicz (29-9 MMA, 12-6 UFC) is cleared to fight again for the belt against the winner of June’s title fight between reigning champion Glover Teixeira and challenger Jiri Prochazka, who face each other in the UFC. 275 in Singapore. Meanwhile, Rakic (14-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) sees a two-fight win streak stopped with the backhand.
Full results from UFC on ESPN 36 include:
MAIN CARD (ESPN2, ESPN+)
- Jan Blachowicz right. Aleksandar Rakic TKO (leg injury) – Round 3, 1:11
- Defeat of Ryan Spann. Ion Cutelaba via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:22
- Davey Grant def. Louis Smolka via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 0:49
- Katlyn Chookagian right. Amanda Ribas via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Manuel Torres def. Frank Camacho via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:27
- Allan Nascimento right. Jake Hadley by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN2, ESPN+)
- Viviane Araujo right. Andrea Lee by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
- Michael Johnson right. Alan Patrick by knockout (punches) – Round 2, 3:22
- Virna Jandiroba def. Angela Hill by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Tatsuro Taira def. Carlos Candelario by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- André Petroski def. Nick Maximov via technical submission (anaconda choke) – Round 1. 1:16
Plus mixed martial arts Coverage: