Mixed martial arts (MMA) is an unforgiving sport with dizzying highs and terrible lows. That’s the big takeaway from a new video released by ESPN MMA that captures the moments following UFC Vegas 54’s main event between Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic.
Blachowicz and Rakic were fighting for a chance to claim the No. 1 contender spot in the Light Heavyweight division. But, a bad knee injury suffered by Rakic in the third round ended the bout (watch highlights), with Blachowicz getting his hand raised. MRI scans following the event confirmed what slow motion video seemed to show: Rakic had blown out his ACL.
This clip from the ESPN+ show, UFC Journey, shows an emotional Rakic being helped backstage by his corner. He’s clearly devastated by the turn of events and how a small injury in training camp came back to derail his first UFC main event.
In contrast, the cameras also follow a happy Blachowicz and his team as they celebrate their win. Blachowicz was looking to bounce back from a listless loss to Glover Teixeira that cost Blachowicz the 205-pound title, and he seemed satisfied with the win and how he was feeling in the cage.
Blachowicz did note how close the fight came to being ended because another injury. In the first round, he suffered a small cut right under the tear duct of his eye.
“Doctors say it was so close to stop the fight,” Blachowicz said. “When I saw the face of the doctor he was like [horrified look]. It was a little bit scary but the second doctor was ‘No he’s good.’”
That’s just another example of how chaotic things can get in a cage fight. Blachowicz was on the edge of losing because of a freak eye injury, and then Rakic lost due to a freak knee injury. Everything really can (and often does) happen in MMA. And this video is a solid reminder that it’s happening to real people with real emotions, whose stories don’t stop after the event is over.
For complete UFC Vegas 54 results and coverage click here.