Jan Blachowicz is officially out of his March 26th ESPN headliner against Aleksandar Rakic.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion was set to be one-half of the first First Night event out of the UFC Apex since 2020. The Polish fighter was looking to rebound following a loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267. However, it seems that his redemption will have to wait.
According to Ariel Helwani who first broke the news, Blachowicz is out of the March 26th main event against Aleksandar Rakic. Rather than find ‘Rocket’ a new opponent, it seems that the UFC is going to try and wait for Blachowicz to heal up so they can rebook the fight.
As a result, the March 26th event will have an entirely new main event. As of now, other notable bouts on the card include a flyweight bout between Askar Askarov and Kai Kara-France, as well as a welterweight showdown between Neil Magny and Max Griffin.
The March 26 main event between Aleksandar Rakić and Jan Blachowicz is off due to Blachowicz having to withdraw, sources say. The hope is to re-book it later in the year, so March 26 would likely have an entirely new main.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 27, 2022
The news of Blachowicz withdrawing is a blow to the light heavyweight division, and especially Rakic. ‘Rocket’ is one scorecard away from being unbeaten in the UFC, and has scored back-to-back wins over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. A win over the former champion would’ve surely put him in prime position for a title shot.
The title shot would’ve come against the winner of the upcoming UFC 274 bout between UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira and challenger Jiri Prochazka. The victor of the bout would be the undisputed 205 pound champion, who had a clear next step against the winner of Blachowicz and Rakic.
However, with the news of Jan Blachowicz pulling out of the bout, it seems the UFC will have to figure out who challenges the winner of Teixeira vs. Prochazka. They will also have to find a new headliner for March 26th.