The former light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz, and the guy who hopes to become the ruler of the division, Aleksandar Rakic, headline the UFC on ESPN 36. The two fierce punchers clash in different moods, and with different aspirations. Blachowicz wants to get back on the throne as soon as possible, while on the other side, Rakic believes this is his last test before the title bout. And according to many, the Serbian is right. If he defeats Blachowicz, the next stop is the battle for the belt.
Jan Blachowicz (+145) lost to Glover Teixeira in the last bout, thus forfeiting his title to the Brazilian veteran. It was a nasty failure for the Polish Power, who was the favorite in that event, especially following his win over Israel Adesanya.
Back in that clash, the Pole would show solid skills on the ground, and his performance on the mat was the difference-maker in that contest. Though, against Glover, things were completely different, and Blachowicz looked like an amateur. In no time, the Brazilian dragged him into his rhythm, and the rest is history.
The 39-year-old is a ferocious puncher, for sure the hardest in the division. We’ve seen his power against Dominick Reyes once he took the title. Previously he would smash Corey Anderson and Luke Rockhold. Blachoicz holds wins over Jacare Souza, Nikita Krylov, Jimi Manuwa, and Devin Clark too.
Aleksandar Rakic (-170) is the fastest rising star in the light heavyweight division. Even though his performances haven’t been that convincing in recent times, according to the analysts, Rakic is one of the guys who might reach the belt in the future. Strong and lengthy kick-boxer with solid takedown defense, Rakic has been a problem in the division ever since he came to the UFC.
Only one defeat in seven events, against Volkan Oezdemir, and even that one came via split decision and was highly controversial. Rakic previously beat Francimar Barroso, Justin Ledet, Devin Clark, and Jimi Manuwa. Following the loss, the Rocket, as the fans call him, was better than two title challengers, Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos, both via unanimous decisions.
Rakic worked on his grappling and wrestling over the past two years, and we saw him working on the mat against Santos a lot. In the beginning,, he was one-dimensional, but he started improving all the other areas of his fight as time went by.
The thing here is that one punch can decide the match. Whoever says differently has no clue what UFC is all about. These two guys have dynamite in their hands, and they aren’t afraid to use it. Blachowicz is the underdog, but we wouldn’t say that, especially now, knowing that he has nothing to lose and that Pole will come out with everything he has. Meanwhile, Rakic is one step away from the title-bout. We think that the best choice here would be to bet that the fight won’t go to the distance. The odds are solid -125, and in our opinion, this is the safest pick regarding this clash.
Pick: Fight not to go to the distance -125
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.