This past weekend at UFC 295, all eyes were on the light heavyweight division. With Jamahal Hill vacating the title due to injury, Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka battled for the vacant light heavyweight championship. Pereira finished Prochazka in the second round to become the light heavyweight champion.
While all eyes were on the title fight, earlier in the broadcast, the promotion announced a couple of big time 205 matchups for UFC 297 on January 20th which goes down in Toronto. We learned that former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (29-10-1) will be rematching with Aleksandar Rakic (14-3).
Rakic has been working his way back after suffering a bad knee injury which ended his last fight. That last fight was against Blachowicz back in May 2022. It was a competitive bout until the knee injury which gave Blachowicz the win. Prior to that, Rakic had won back-to-back fights over former title challengers Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos.
Jan Blachowicz expressed his annoyances at Alex Pereira on X following Pereira’s UFC 297 title win. Blachowicz last fought against Pereira this past July and lost a close split decision that he maintains he won. That split decision loss came on the heels of his draw against Magomed Ankalaev. The winner of this matchup in January is going to be very close to the top of the title picture at 205.
In addition to announcing the rematch between Blachowicz and Rakic, the UFC also announced another battle for January. Back in September, Carlos Ulberg (9-1) submitted Da Un Jung in the third round of their matchup which was his fifth straight win inside the octagon.
After getting stopped in his UFC debut, the City Kickboxing product has been on a roll. He wanted to take a step up in competition and he wanted to add a big name to his resume. Following his win, Ulberg took to the microphone and called out former title challenger Dominick Reyes (12-4).
Reyes hasn’t fought since November 2022 after getting knocked out by Ryan Spann in the first round. The future wasn’t clear for the former UFC title challenger, but the promotion announced Saturday that Ulberg was getting his wish and Reyes would be returning to face him in January.
This is truly do-or-die for Dominick Reyes. In February 2020, he gave Jon Jones one of the toughest fights of his career in a fight where many believe Reyes defeated the GOAT. Following that, he took a short-notice vacant title fight against Jan Blachowicz and was knocked out. He then was knocked out bad by Jiri Prochazka which forced him to take over a year off. We know what happened when he returned against Spann last November.
Now, it’s been another year and Reyes is returning at UFC 297. He’s lost four in a row, but his name still carries some weight. It’ll either be the final nail in his coffin and a huge win for Ulberg or Reyes will get the massive win and re-establish himself at 205 pounds.