Ever since Jon Jones abdicated the throne, the Light Heavyweight division has been ... weird. More accurately, it’s been weirdly old! There hasn’t been a title holder below the age of 37 since “Bones” departed, and last night, the division once again proved itself no place for hotshot youngsters.
Rakic is the perfect example of a young, physical talent in his prime in that he’s good precisely because he is young and physical. The Austrian is not technically amazing in any one area. He’s got a few tricks, but mostly, Rakic just applies the fundamental and trusts in his size, power and youth to make the difference.
By and large, it’s working. Arguably, it was working against Jan Blachowicz last night (Sat., May 14, 2022) at UFC Vegas 54. The Polish fighter proved himself the more technical striker, checking low kicks more efficiently and putting together better combinations. It did not deter the 30-year-old Rakic, however, who promptly fired his own kicks through the checks, ensuring both men have brutally sore legs this morning.
That’s a tactic of youth.
The takedown was smart. Blachowicz is tricky to take down, so why not try to lift the old man’s leg up high in the air and watch him tip over? Rakic had momentum in his corner heading into the third, when everything went wrong.
Rakic’s knee exploding was the perfect example of a freak accident in MMA. After all, it wasn’t the leg that Blachowicz was chopping into that crumbled. The Austrian took an innocent looking hop backwards onto his back leg, and the side of his knee shot out towards the camera. He collapsed in visible agony, and the fight came to an unfortunate end.
What are the odds the the younger, less-worn down fighter succumbs to such a strange injury? It’s even more ironic when we consider how every single UFC preview/interview clip in the lead up to the main event — which is MANY, by the way — mentioned that Rakic was sleeping in an altitude tank to help his body recover and heal.
“Rocket” did everything right, and still no more knee! It’s almost a sign from the universe that the Light Heavyweight division is meant to be ruled by its elder members. Sorry Aleksandar, maybe try again in a decade?
Based on current trends, Jiri Prochazka might just be fighting both Glover Teixeira and the MMA gods themselves at UFC 275.
For complete UFC Vegas 54: “Blachowicz vs. Rakic” results and play-by-play, click HERE.