Aleksandar Rakic believes he’s the new face of light heavyweight after UFC 259

This past Saturday at UFC 259, top four light heavyweight contenders kicked off the main card. Former title challenger Thiago Santos (21-9) took on Aleksandar Rakic (14-2). Both men were looking to take another step towards the UFC‘s light heavyweight title.

The expectation going into this fight was that it was going to be a fire fight. Both men possessed knockout power and both had highlight finishes inside the octagon. However, that isn’t the fight we got on Saturday night.

The fight was incredibly slow and featured Rakic just picking his shots from the outside. There were a few times where power shots were thrown, however, nothing serious ever landed. Neither man was in trouble at UFC 259.

In the end, Aleksandar Rakic had his hand raised by unanimous decision. After the fight was over, Rakic went over to Dana White’s table and told him that he was the new face of the UFC‘s light heavyweight division. Is that the case?

What’s next after UFC 259?

I will give Aleksandar Rakic this, he’s been sensational since joining the UFC. Since making his debut with the promotion back in 2017, Rakic has gone 6-1 inside the octagon. The only time he lost was to Volkan Oezdemir by split decision.

However, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of people believe that Rakic won the fight against Oezdemir. You could very well make the case that Rakic is unbeaten in the UFC. Rakic has all the makings of a future champion at 205.

He’s got the size, strength, and the skills to make it happen. We’ve seen him show off great kickboxing and we’ve also seen him show off decent skills on the ground. However, his last three fights have failed to wow fight fans.

With that, we know that Rakic is not getting the next UFC title shot. That shot belongs to Glover Teixeira. So with that, where does Rakic go from here? I think where we go from here is we look at the upcoming light heavyweight matchup in May.

Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka will fight in May. Whoever wins that fight would matchup up perfectly with Rakic for a title eliminator. Based on rumblings in the background, it appears that the UFC is heading in this direction and that potential title eliminator should be a lot of fun to watch.

UFC rebooks Dominick Reyes – Jiri Prochazka

Dominick Reyes

Later this month, the UFC was scheduled to have a fight night headlined by a light heavyweight matchup between Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1). With the upcoming light heavyweight title fight at UFC 259 in March, this fight was huge for the division.

However, Reyes sustained an injury and the fight was called off. The UFC wanted to keep this matchup together so they didn’t even entertain a potential new opponent for Prochazka. Instead, they began to work on a new date that would work with Reyes’ recovery.

Well, today we learned when that fight will take place. MMA Fighting was the first to report that the UFC has booked the fight between Prochazka and Reyes for a new date. The light heavyweight matchup will now take place on May 1st.

Given the new timeline, this could actually be more beneficial for the winner in terms of getting a title shot. Glover Teixeira (32-7) is number one contender in the light heavyweight division. He’s been told that he’s getting the next title shot after UFC 259.

Depending on how the fight goes in a few weeks, Teixeira might be getting his shot over the summer. That would line up perfectly for the winner of the Reyes – Prochazka fight. I could definitely see the winner being the UFC‘s top contender after Glover Teixeira.

UFC title eliminator?

Prochazka made his UFC debut back on Fight Island in July. He took on former title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir. Prochazka showed off his entertaining style and knocked Oezdemir out cold in the second round of their fight.

He’s only lost one time since 2013 and he looks like he can be a force in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. 2020 was a very tough year for Dominick Reyes. He started out the year by taking on Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title.

The fight was razor close and many believed Reyes defeated the pound-for-pound king. However, the judges gave the fight to Jones. Then, Reyes got another title opportunity against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 253. Reyes got knocked out in the second round of that fight.

After starting his career 12-0, Reyes has now lost two-straight. He has a very difficult puzzle in front of him on May 1st. When these two fight, Reyes will either show he’s still one of the best or Jiri Prochazka will show everyone that he’s the real deal.

UFC Update: Injury to Dominick Reyes pushes back the Jiri Prochazka fight

Dominick Reyes

A massive fight in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division is being pushed back. First reported by Farah Hannoun, the fight between Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) is off. There are reports circulating this morning saying that a Reyes injury forced the fight back.

Originally, this fight was supposed to headline the UFC‘s fight night on February 27th. However, yesterday a tweet from Jairzinho Rozenstruik signaled that the fight might be in jeopardy. We now know that Rozenstruik – Ciryl Gane is going to headline the 2/27 card. 

At this time, there is no word on the significance of the injury to Dominick Reyes. Reyes was looking to bounce back in 2021 after having a very tough 2020. Dominick Reyes fought Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) last February at UFC 247.

The fight was razor close and many believed that Reyes won the fight. However, the judges gave the fight to Jon Jones. After that fight, Jones would ultimately decide to vacate the light heavyweight title to pursue the heavyweight title.

At UFC 253, Reyes got another opportunity against Jan Blachowicz (27-8). Reyes was looked at as the uncrowned champion going into the contest. However, the legendary Polish Power put Reyes down in the second round to capture the light heavyweight title.

That loss was just the icing on the cake of a rough year for Dominick Reyes. He rode a ton of momentum into that fight with many believing he defeated the goat just to be stopped by Blachowicz. This fight with Prochazka is a chance for him to right the ship.

UFC Newcomer

On the UFC’s first trip to Fight Island, Jiri Prochazka made his highly anticipated debut with the promotion. The global MMA scene was very familiar with Prochazka, but he was a bit of an unknown to a lot of fight fans.

The promotion gave him a tough test right away in former title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir (17-5). The fight was incredibly entertaining and Prochazka showed off some of his personality in that fight.

In the second round, Prochazka landed a massive right hand that put Oezdemir out cold. A huge UFC debut for Prochazka and that win launched him into the top five of the rankings. If he can beat Dominick Reyes whenever they fight, Jiri Prochazka might be getting a title shot in 2021.

UFC: Gane – Rozenstruik to headline Feb. 27th card per Rozenstruik

Ciryl Gane UFC

According to Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1), the UFC has a new main event for their fight night on February 27th. Originally, the promotion had been planning on a light heavyweight contest between Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka headlining that card.

Rozenstruik was set to take on top contender, Ciryl Gane (7-0), on the UFC‘s Fight Night on March 13th. However, it appears that everything is being switched around. Rozenstruik announced the news on Twitter yesterday. 

However, he didn’t just announce that his fight with Gane was moving to 2/27, he announced they would be fighting five rounds. That can only mean that the heavyweight clash is the new UFC headliner.

So far, there has been no word from the UFC on what is going on. We are going completely off of the tweet of Rozenstruik, however, if he’s tweeted it out, it must be a done deal. One would have to assume that the fight between Prochazka and Reyes is getting pushed back.

The UFC is no stranger to card shuffling after the crazy 2020 COVID year. With the virus still lingering and restrictions still in place, you can imagine that there will be a lot of altered cards throughout 2021 as well.

UFC’s New Headliner

For the sake of this article, let’s go ahead and assume this heavyweight battle is headlining the UFC’s 2/27 card. This is a massive fight for the heavyweight division. This is also a fight that’s going to tell us a lot about Ciryl Gane.

Gane is being looked at as the top prospect in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He just passed his first big test when he stopped Junior Dos Santos at UFC 255. However, JDS is not looked at as the same guy that he was when he was UFC champion.

Rozenstruik is a very dangerous contender and his only career loss is against the top contender in the world, Francis Ngannou. Whoever wins this fight will be in prime position in the UFC’s heavyweight division.

In my opinion, we could be seeing a little heavyweight tournament forming. The week prior to this headliner, the UFC has another headliner featuring Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis. Perhaps the winners could fight considering Jon Jones is already guaranteed the next title shot.

Corey Anderson says Bellator is better than the UFC at light heavyweight

Corey Anderson

2020 turned out to be an eventful year for Bellator‘s Corey Anderson (14-5). When the year started, Anderson was one of the top contenders in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. He appeared to be one win away from a title shot.

However, Jan Blachowicz (27-8) starched Anderson in February to claim that top contender status. After Anderson was knocked out, he had a series of health concerns that kept him from competing. These health scares also had him reevaluate his career.

Anderson decided to go to the UFC and ask for more money. When the promotion wasn’t willing to, he asked for a release to be able to look around in the market. The UFC released Anderson and Bellator signed him almost immediately.

It turned out to be the first of several moves like this for Bellator. After signing Anderson, Bellator would go on to sign Yoel Romero (13-5) and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) after they were released from the UFC.

Those top three contenders join the likes of Vadim Nemkov (12-2), Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC), and Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC). It’s safe to say that Bellator’s light heavyweight division has never been better.

In fact, it’s so good that Anderson believes it’s the best on the planet. Anderson told MMA Fighting, “I just feel right now Bellator has the upper hand. Jones has left. They’ve got these hype trains. These young guys UFC has coming in they’re trying to hype up but I feel like their legitimacy aren’t like the vets that were there that are in Bellator now.”

Bellator or the UFC?

If we are going to go on pure name recognition, it’s hard to argue Corey Anderson’s point. Bellator has some serious name power in their light heavyweight division. However, it is the best in the sport?

In all honesty, if you’re looking at the totality of their top five, it might be. The UFC’s top contender is Glover Teixeira (32-7) who was knocked out in 14 seconds by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

Then again, there’s also Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) in the UFC’s top five. Prochazka stopped Bellator’s champion, Vadim Nemkov, when the two of them faced off a few years ago.

Another interesting wrinkle to throw into things is the light heavyweight debut of Israel Adesanya (20-0). Stylebender is fighting Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title in March.

Anderson definitely has an argument that Bellator is just as good if not better at 205 than the UFC. However, I believe the best light heavyweight in the world right now is Jan Blachowicz with Jon Jones moving up.

Overall, the UFC has a deeper division due to the amount of fighters on the roster and they have younger contenders. While Bellator is right there, I would still give the advantage to the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, the UFC.

State of the UFC’s light heavyweight division entering 2021

Corey Anderson

Last night, we got big announcement for the light heavyweight division. At UFC 259, Jan Blachowicz (27-8) will be defending his light heavyweight crown against the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0).

It’s a massive fight with huge implications for the UFC‘s light heavyweight division. 2020 has been a very fascinating year at 205 pounds. When the year started, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) was getting ready to defend his title against Dominick Reyes (12-2).

The fight took place at UFC 247. Reyes pushed Jones to the absolute limit and many believed that he won that fight. However, all three judges awarded Jones the decision and Jones walked away with his title.

Shortly after that, Jan Blachowicz knocked out Corey Anderson who was looked at as the next top contender. Jones was in attendance and the two men did a little talking through the cage. It appeared that would be the next title fight.

However, Jones decided to vacate his UFC light heavyweight title to pursue the heavyweight title. When Jones vacated, the promotion booked Blachowicz against Dominick Reyes for the vacant title at UFC 253.

Dominick Reyes was an uncrowned champion in the eyes of many in the MMA community after his fight with Jones. However, his uncrowned reign didn’t last long because Blachowicz knocked him out in the second round to capture the light heavyweight title.

UFC’s light heavyweight division in 2021

As mentioned, we already have the first title fight booked for UFC 259. Now, depending on who wins that fight, there are different fights that could be booked. If Blachowicz retains his title, Glover Teixeira (32-7) will be next.

The 41 year old Teixeira is riding a five-fight winning streak. He had an incredible 2020 where he finished former title challengers Anthony Smith (34-16) and Thiago Santos (21-8). However, he’s being passed over for Adesanya at this time.

The UFC has said that he’s the next contender, but the promotion is always about booking the biggest fights. While it’s not fair to Teixeira, his fight against Blachowicz is no where near as big as Adesanya moving up.

If Adesanya wins at UFC 259, I don’t see Teixeira getting the next shot. The reason is that I think the UFC will do everything they can to book the fight between Adesanya and Jon Jones should Adesanya capture the light heavyweight title.

Jones is intent on becoming heavyweight champion over the summer. Imagine a fall blockbuster that pairs the two-division champion, Adesanya, against the new heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.

That is the current status at the very top of the division. The contender I have my eyes on as we enter 2021 is Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1). Prochazka hasn’t lost in five years and he made his debut with the promotion at UFC 251.

He’s a very entertaining fighter and he put Volkan Oezdemir to sleep when they fought. He fights Dominick Reyes in February in a pivotal matchup for the division. 2021 is going to be interesting year for the light heavyweights.

I honestly don’t know what path the division is going to go down. The paths are vastly different depending on who wins at UFC 259 between Blachowicz and Adesanya.

The UFC’s Light Heavyweight Dilemma

Corey Anderson

The UFC has a very complicated situation that is developing in their light heavyweight division. It all started back in the summer when Jon Jones announced that he would be vacating the light heavyweight championship following his incredible run.

Jones said he wanted to focus on capturing the UFC‘s heavyweight title. Following Jones’ departure, the UFC announced that Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes would fight for the vacant light heavyweight championship.

Blachowicz went on to knock out Reyes to capture the title back at UFC 253. A fight was setup to take place before this matchup between Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos. The fight was looked at as a title eliminator. The winner was said to be in line to face Blachowicz next year for the undisputed light heavyweight championship.

However, a wrench was thrown into the plans here. Last week it was announced that Israel Adesanya would be moving up for a UFC light heavyweight championship match. He’s expected to take on Jan Blachowicz at some point early next year.

Last Saturday at UFC Vegas 13, Glover Teixeira defeated Thiago Santos. The 41 year old won his fifth straight fight making him the clear number one contender in the light heavyweight division. However, because of the Adesanya fight, we have no idea when Teixeira will actually get a shot.

UFC’s Current Situation

When it comes to selling, Israel Adesanya challenging for the title is much bigger than Glover Teixeira for the UFC. Adesanya is a superstar who has the chance to become an even bigger star by capturing his second championship.

For the sake of the article, let’s say that Adesanya is able to defeat Blachowicz next year to capture the title. Glover Teixeira will just get the first crack at Adesanya right? Unfortunately for the 41 year old contender, it’s not that easy.

Adesanya recently said that he would still plan on fighting at 185 and defending both titles if he were to win. There’s a good chance that he would move back down after capturing the light heavyweight title to rematch with Robert Whittaker.

Even if he decides to stay at 205 for back-to-back fights, the likelihood that Teixeira would get the first title shot is low. If Adesanya defeats Blachowicz, the UFC will likely do everything they can to book the Adesanya – Jon Jones fight.

This would be the biggest fight that the promotion could possibly make. However, it would be at the expense of Glover Teixeira. With the Adesanya – Blachowicz fight in the works, the best thing for Glover’s chances is a Blachowicz win. However, if Adesanya wins, God only knows when Teixeira will actually get the shot he deserves.

UFC: Jan Blachowicz calls for fight with Israel Adesanya

Corey Anderson

The UFC‘s light heavyweight champion has his eyes set on his next opponent. Last month, Jan Blachowicz became the light heavyweight champion of the world when he knocked out Dominick Reyes to cap off an incredible run at UFC 253.

The UFC‘s Polish Power has stormed through his last four opponents on his way to capturing the title. Later that evening, Israel Adesanya put on arguably the best performance of his career when he retained his middleweight crown against Paulo Costa.

Since then, there hasn’t been a ton of specific talk about what’s next for Adesanya or Blachowicz. Dana White said last week that it made sense for Adesanya to fight Robert Whittaker again for the UFC middleweight championship.

However, Adesanya and his camp don’t seem very interested in the matchup. They are looking for a new challenge and that challenge could come in the form of the UFC light heavyweight champion.

Adesanya’s coach did say that the champion’s next fight could come at light heavyweight. This is something that Blachowicz seems interested in. The light heavyweight champ took to Twitter to callout Adesanya for a fight in March.

Will the UFC make it happen?

This would be such an interesting matchup for the UFC to make. On one hand, it would give them a chance to make Adesanya an even bigger star than he already is. Adesanya as a two-division world champion would blow up.

However, it wouldn’t be an easy fight for Adesanya. On paper, Adesanya should pick apart the light heavyweight champion, Blachowicz. Blachowicz would definitely be the slower fighter, however, his power is not to be ignored.

When he hits guys, they just seem to completely change. Many, including myself, thought he would be outgunned against Dominick Reyes. I thought the fluidity of Reyes would give him issues, but Blachowicz’s power just took over at UFC 253.

If Adesanya were to move up and win the UFC light heavyweight title, it could make the potential Jon Jones fight even bigger. Imagine Jones challenging Adesanya for the light heavyweight championship. Or maybe the two-division champion, Adesanya, would want to fight Jones at heavyweight.

However, I would strongly suggest that nobody overlook Blachowicz if this fight was to happen. Adesanya would be the clear favorite, but Blachowicz has power that can change any fight on a dime.

UFC booking Dominick Reyes – Jiri Prochazka

Dominick Reyes

The UFC just ended their second stint on Fight Island over the weekend. However, Dana White said that the promotion would waste no time in getting back to work once they landed in the US. He wasn’t kidding about that one.

Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the UFC is currently working to finalize a light heavyweight contest between Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1). The fight would headline a UFC fight night that will take place on February 27th.

This is a massive fight for a light heavyweight division that just crowned a new king. After reigning over the division for most of the past decade, Jon Jones decided to vacate the title and move to heavyweight. That opened the door for UFC 253.

At UFC 253, Reyes took on Jan Blachowicz for the vacant light heavyweight title. The underdog, Blachowicz, would go on to stop Reyes in the second round to become the first male Polish champion in the history of the UFC.

UFC Light Heavyweight Main Event

For Reyes, he will get a golden chance to bounce back. Prior to the loss at UFC 253, Reyes had lost a decision to Jon Jones. However, there were a lot of people who thought Reyes won that fight. Some considered him the uncrowned champion leading into UFC 253.

Reyes had been unbeaten and defeated fighters like Jared Cannonier, Chris Weidman, Vokan Oezdemir, and Ovince St. Preux. The Devastator will look to get right back into the title picture with a victory on February 27th.

There was a ton of hype surrounding the UFC debut of Jiri Prochazka. Prochazka made his debut on the UFC’s first stint on Fight Island. The charismatic fighter from the Czech Republic showed off his entertaining style in his fight with Volkan Oezdemir.

His unorthodox style caused Oezdemir to never get comfortable. In the second round, Prochazka turned the lights out with a sensational knockout. Prochazka hasn’t lost since 2015, and a victory over Reyes would likely earn him a shot at the light heavyweight title.

State of the light heavyweight division after UFC 253

Corey Anderson

This past weekend at UFC 253, a new light heavyweight champion was crowned. This was the first light heavyweight champion not named Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier since 2011. The new UFC light heavyweight king has some serious Polish Power.

Jan Blachowicz (27-8) completely dominated Dominick Reyes (12-2) this past Saturday to claim the UFC light heavyweight title. Blachowicz has gone through a career resurgence since 2017 that has seen him go 8-1 on his way to capturing UFC gold.

It was clear from the very beginning of the fight that Blachowicz had an advantage. His power took Reyes by surprise, and as a result, Reyes seemed extremely gun shy. In the second round, Blachowicz landed a massive flurry that finished the fight.

Blachowicz became the first male UFC champion from Poland. He became just the second Polish champion in history alongside Joanna Jedrzejczyk. So after UFC 253, where do we go from here and what is the status of the light heavyweight division?

What’s next after UFC 253?

There are going to be two storylines to follow in the coming weeks when it comes to the light heavyweight division. The first and most obvious storyline is the UFC‘s pound for pound best fighter in the world, Jon Jones.

After years of reigning over the division, Jones vacated his UFC light heavyweight title. Jones seemed more interested in moving to heavyweight, although he did tease a potential return to the division on Saturday night after Blachowicz won the title.

At the moment, I think Jones is going to stay on course to fight at heavyweight, but who knows. Assuming Jones doesn’t return, all eyes will shift to the November contest between Glover Teixiera and Thiago Santos. The winner of that fight will be first in line to face the new UFC light heavyweight champion.

Another name to keep your eyes on is Anthony “Rumble Johnson. Johnson has re-entered the USADA testing pool and is planning on competing in the first half of 2021. Rumble is known as one of the most feared knockout artist in UFC light heavyweight history.

Dominick Reyes will need to regroup after his second straight UFC loss, but there are a few other top contenders in the division. Jiri Prochazka and Aleksandar Rakic are two names to keep your eyes on. Exciting times in a new and fluid UFC light heavyweight division.