This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 54, a potential light heavyweight title shot was on the line. Former champion Jan Blachowicz (29-9) was back as he was taking on the surging “Rocket” Aleksandar Rakic (14-3). Rakic was looking for his third straight win to secure a title shot.
When the fight started, it looked like we were going to get a standup war. Both men were trying to implement their striking game plans. For Rakic, he was looking to stay on the outside and pick apart the former UFC champion. In the opening minute, Rakic landed a beautiful jab that opened a nasty cut under the eye of Blachowicz.
That said, I think Blachowicz had the more impactful strikes throughout the first. Entering the second, Rakic looked like he wanted to switch things up. Rakic decided to look for an opening to take the former champion down. He used a powerful takedown attempt tied with a trip to get the former champion down.
Because of this, he was able to bag the second round on all three scorecards. All three judges at UFC Vegas 54 had the fight 19-19 going into the third. That’s when disaster struck for Aleksandar Rakic. Throughout the fight, Blachowicz was landing brutal leg kicks on Rakic.
After one big one, Rakic went to step back and throw a counter. When he stepped on his back leg, you could see his knee popped and he crumbled to the ground. The fight was called off and Rakic lost by injury TKO.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 54?
This injury at UFC Vegas 54 is such a brutal break for Aleksandar Rakic. Especially considering the fact that he was already coming off of a 14-month layoff when he entered the octagon on Saturday night. Now, he’s likely going to be out another year. Fortunately, he just turned 30 so he’s got plenty of time left in his career.
Rakic said after UFC Vegas 54 that he originally sustained a knee injury during camp but fought through it. The fight on Saturday night caused the knee to completely blow out. If you recall, originally Rakic and Blachowicz were supposed to fight in March before Blachowicz got hurt so the fight got pushed back.
That push back time proved to be brutal for Rakic. Now, he will likely have surgery then head for rehab before he returns to the UFC in early 2023. Make no mistake about it, Rakic is still one of the very best light heavyweights in the world.
Not sure how the division will look when he returns next year, but he should go right into a top five fight upon his return.