Bad news for UFC fans in Ohio that were expecting to see a potential title eliminator in the light heavyweight division in March. Ariel Helwani was the first to report this afternoon that the matchup between former champion Jan Blachowicz (28-9) and Aleksandar Rakic (14-2) is off.
The two men were expecting to headline the March 26th Fight Night that was set to take place in Ohio. It was the first UFC Fight Night that was going to have a full arena in the United States since the pandemic started.
Helwani reported that the former light heavyweight champion has been forced to withdraw. It’s not known yet the reasoning or how long Blachowicz will be out of action. However, the UFC is wanting to rebook this fight.
With that in mind, Rakic will be off the card altogether. Of course, that means that the promotion is going to need a new headlining fight and I guarantee the UFC is off and running with figuring that out.
With this being the first US Fight Night with a full arena since the pandemic started, you have to imagine that the UFC wants to do it big. Michelle Waterson and Amanda Ribas are the co-main event, but I can’t imagine they will move that up to the main event.
The UFC has done that in the past with Waterson, however, this card seems too big for that. With that in mind, what is a potential main event that the promotion could shift towards.
Well, there’s one big fight that jumps out to me immediately. That would be the welterweight contest between Gilbert Burns (20-4) and Khamzat Chimaev (10-0). This is a fight that the UFC wants to make and both men want the fight.
Burns has been calling for it to be a main event and the delay has likely been caused by trying to find a date that didn’t already have a main event. It was likely going to take place in April or May, but I could see the UFC moving it up given this news.
Time will tell, but considering we are just about two months out, I would expect that we will know sooner than later.