May 12, 2022 9:40 PM
Ewan Lavender

MMA Preview – Jan Blachowicz vs Aleksandar Rakic at UFC Vegas 54

Click here for today’s sports betting tips from our expert analysts!

JAN BLACHOWICZ VS ALEKSANDAR RAKIC FACTS

When is UFC Vegas 54? Sunday 15th May, 2022 - 01:00 start (UK)

Where is UFC Vegas 54? UFC APEX, Enterprise, Nevada (US)

Where can I get tickets for UFC Vegas 54? Click here for the tickets at the O2 Arena

What channel is UFC Vegas 54 on? BT Sport 1

Where can I stream UFC Vegas 54? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live on ESPN+ and you can sign up for access as part of a Disney Bundle here!

JAN BLACHOWICZ VS ALEKSANDAR RAKIC LOWDOWN

Jan Blachowicz (28-9) is back after his devastating title fight loss back in October last year. He emerged out of the pool of light heavyweight contenders to fill the void Jon Jones left behind and won the vacant strap when he TKO’d Dominick Reyes (2020) on Fight Island. He then ruined the Israel Adesanya double champ party by dishing out a grappling lesson, completely overpowering the elite striker to a unanimous decision. That capped a super impressive five-fight win streak as he went back to Fight Island for his second title defence against Glover Teixeira who handed out his own grappling lesson submitting the Pole in the second round. Now, he wants to prove that was just a blip and get his belt back.

Standing in his way, is one of the most promising challengers Aleksandar Rakic (14-2). His fellow European has only lost once in his last 15 fights which was a split decision against Volkan Oezdemir. However, he has responded with two very measured performances and unanimous decision wins over former title challengers Anthony Smith (2020) and Thiago Santos (2021) to go 6-1 in the UFC and creep towards the number one contender spot.

JAN BLACHOWICZ VS ALEKSANDAR RAKIC PREDICTION

Overall, they match up very similar physically as top tier strikers, but Blachowicz has the edge when it comes to grappling. They have the same arm reach, but Rakic has two inches in height and leg reach which will make a difference as he is a lethal kicker from range – just ask Jimi Manuwa.

So, Rakic will need a quick start and dictate the first couple rounds with his striking offloading heavy leg kicks before Blachowicz gets a read and calls upon his experience to adapt. If Rakic begins to tag the Pole, he may clinch up sooner rather than later.

Blachowicz will no doubt carry his own threat on the feet, and he will look to counter with hooks, attacking the head to lift the guard and then fire his own kicks to the liver. This will be a cerebral battle and there may not be an abundance of volume, instead relying on their natural power to break each other down.

This is a hard one to call – if it stays on the feet, we can see both men edging a tight decision or landing a knockout. The more Blachowicz mixes in his grappling, the more likely he will win a decision or even a submission. He has the experience to execute a good game plan, but if his ego decides to trade with Rakic for five rounds, his title hopes may fade away.

Prediction: Rakic via Decision - CLICK HERE FOR PARIMATCH'S WELCOME OFFER (BET £5, GET £30 IN BONUSES!)

Prediction: Blachowicz to win

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