Sunday, December 4, 2022

Jan Blachowicz Pitches Procházka vs. Rakić Title Eliminator

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz has suggested the next number one contender should be determined by a fight between Jiří Procházka and Aleksandar Rakić.

Blachowicz has held the 205-pound gold for over a year. He won the belt at UFC 253 last September by defeating Dominick Reyes with a second-round TKO. After Jon Jones vacated the strap earlier in 2020, the Polish powerhouse’s crowning marked the first post-Jones champion.

After upsetting the odds against “The Devastator,” Blachowicz found himself branded as the underdog for his first title defense. At UFC 259 in March this year, UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya looked to become the latest simultaneous two-division champ by dethroning Blachowicz. However, after five rounds, the 38-year-old was awarded a comfortable unanimous decision win over “The Last Stylebender”.

After batting away the challenge from below, Blachowicz will now face a title challenge from within his division’s roster for the first time. In the main event of UFC 267 this weekend, the champion will defend his title against #1-ranked light heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira. The Brazilian veteran will be looking to join Randy Couture in the post-40 champions club with a victory this weekend. Come fight night in Abu Dhabi, Teixeira will be 42 years old.

Blachowicz Plays Matchmaker

Blachowicz is visibly confident about his chances of emerging from the Etihad Arena on Saturday with the 205-pound gold still wrapped around his waist. While showing respect to his opponent, and acknowledging the threat he possesses, the champ suggested he’ll be knocking Teixeira into retirement on October 30.

With that in mind, the Polish star recently looked ahead to what could be next for him following this week’s non-pay-per-view numbered event. During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Blachowicz jumped into the shoes of Sean Shelby. He said that if he was a matchmaker, he’d be pairing #2-ranked Jiří Procházka and #3-ranked Aleksandar Rakić together for a title eliminator.

“If I was the matchmaker, but I’m not, but I would do Jiří against Rakić, and the winner of this fight next for me or next contender for the title shot… but they send me contract and I sign it and fight, because I don’t like to choose opponents. Never do this before and I don’t want to do this.”

In just two Octagon outings, Procházka has burst onto the UFC scene and announced himself as a light heavyweight title contender. The Czech star headed into his promotional debut last summer on a 10-fight win streak and with 25 knockouts in 28 professional wins. He showed exactly why he was so highly touted when he brutally KO’d Volkan Oezdemir on Fight Island. His second fight ended in a similar fashion. In the UFC Vegas 25 main event, “Denisa” slept Reyes with a vicious spinning back elbow.

Rakić, meanwhile, has been in the UFC since 2017. Aside from a controversial split decision loss to Oezdemir, the Austrian has won all of his fights in the UFC. Had he defeated the Swiss contender, the 29-year-old would be unbeaten since his MMA debut loss in 2011. Consecutive victories over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos have brought him into title contention.

Who would you like to see Jan Blachowicz face if he defeats Glover Teixeira at UFC 267?