The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz had a very strong showing when he clashed with the #3 ranked light heavyweight Aleksandar Rakic. Despite the contest ending in anti-climatic fashion, this win was very important for Blachowicz as he is trying to regain the title he lost in a one-sided submission defeat to the current champion Glover Teixeira back in October of last year in Abu Dhabi at UFC 267. Now that he is back in the win column with a good performance against Rakic, a top contender and who some deemed to be the next possible champion, Blachowicz is now closer to having the opportunity to reclaim the 205-pound belt.
What’s Next for Jan Blachowicz?
Title Shot: Winner of Teixeira vs Prochazka
Many believed that with a win over the former champ, Aleksandar Rakic would be rewarded with a title shot against the winner of the UFC 275 main event between Glover Teixeira and Jiri Prochazka taking place on June 11 in Singapore. However, Jan Blachowicz has stolen some of that momentum from Rakic with his most recent win, as well as being a winner in seven out of his last eight contests, with the only loss coming from the current champion Glover Teixeira. In a scenario where Teixeira retains his belt, a rematch with Blachowicz could be very intriguing, especially with the storyline that Jan “didn’t show up” when he lost the title.
Fighting a new champion in Jiri Prochazka, if he would become victorious in Singapore Indoor Stadium, would be extremely interesting as well. This new matchup will showcase two clashing fighting styles; Prochazka, who constantly applies forward pressure with creative striking, and Blachowicz who tries to counterstrike using very reliable defense on the feet. This option seems the most likely as the weight class does not have too many contenders that seem ready for a title shot.
Winner of Smith vs Ankalaev
If the title shot does not pan out, the next biggest fight for the former 205-pound king would be to face the winner of the contest between Anthony Smith and Magomed Ankalaev that is being targeted for UFC 277 on July 30. Both Smith and Ankalaev are coming in with lots of momentum. Smith is on a three-fight win streak, with all of them ending before the second round, and Ankalaev is currently on an eight-fight win streak. Even though both are on impressive streaks, a win over a big name such as Blachowicz would help their push for a title shot. Jan Blachowicz will bring an interesting style matchup no matter who comes out as the winner from this July contest.
Smith is well-rounded, with lots of experience, and has emerged as a grizzled veteran who can bring an action-packed fight to the fans if he steps in the octagon with Blachowicz for a chance to get a big name on his resume. Ankalaev is similar to Rakic in having good skills everywhere and an air of a future champion. However, a possible contest with the former champ can test Ankalev’s durability and fight IQ while showcasing parts of the game of the Dagestani fighter we haven’t seen before.
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