UFC Vegas 54’s main event between Jan Blachowicz vs. Aleksandar Rakic on Saturday night (May 14, 2022) ended suddenly halfway through the third round when Rakic fell down suddenly grabbing his right leg (watch highlights here). The fight was waved off and Blachowicz declared the winner, but the finish left fans confused. While Blachowicz had spent a portion of the fight hitting Rakic with solid leg kicks, it was to Rakic’s other leg.
So, what happened?
Several doctors on social media have weighed in and most of them agree it looks like Rakic suffered an ACL injury. The best breakdown of what happened and why the anterior cruciate ligament is the key suspect comes from Sports Medicine Fellow, Brian Sutterer, of the Mayo Clinic. He went through the fight finishing footage frame-by-frame and pinpointed the exact moment Rakic’s ACL snapped, popping his tibia forward and then backward.
“Rakic’s lead leg, his left leg, was getting beaten up all night by Blachowicz,” Sutterer said. “But, this was actually the right leg where if you look closely, here, you can actually see the pop. And what we’re seeing there is essentially the tibia, or the shinbone, that’s displaced forward or anterior. And all of a sudden right there, pops back into its proper position.
“This anterior tibial translation and that shift that we see backward is an ACL injury until proven otherwise,” he concluded. “This is actually the similar position to what we see with sports like basketball or football when somebody is running and then they jump or they cut.”
We’ve gif’d out the key moment from Sutterer’s video where you can watch Rakic’s leg give out from under him below:
“In this view we can’t quite see the tibia snap back as much,” he said. “But, you can still right there appreciate a little bit of the tibia being forward and then boom, popping back into position.”
Shortly after the loss, Rakic revealed his knee had been giving him trouble leading up to the fight.
“The same damn injury from 3 weeks ago in camp showed up again tonight,” he wrote. “Congratulation to Jan and I wish him the best. I will take care of this injury and come back like you never seen me before. This is a unfinished fight between Jan and I and I really hope UFC gives me a REMATCH.”
It may be a while. That’s because standard recovery from ACL tears run athletes six to nine months, depending on how severe the injury is.
For complete UFC Vegas 54 results and coverage click here.