Aleksandar Rakic

Austria

Knee injury results in loss
Light HeavyweightUFC
May 14, 2022
Rakic lost to Jan Blachowicz via TKO (injury stoppage) at 1:11 of Round 3 at UFC on ESPN 36 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
It's a crushing result for Rakic in a fight which was legitimately either man's for the taking. In what was primarily expected to be a striking battle, Rakic struggled to find his range on the feet in Round 1, landing just 12-of-52 total strikes. He was considerably more effective in Round 2 on the strength of a takedown which resulted in him spending nearly the entire round (4:32) in top position. With the fight tied a round apiece, Rakic took a step backwards early in the third frame and saw his right knee completely give out. It was clear he was seriously injured and referee Mark Smith immediately stepped in. While the loss is obviously less than ideal, the injury is a larger long-term concern for Rakic. He turned 30 years of age this past February and is just 2-2 in his past four fights. Although the two defeats were this one due to injury and a split decision against Volkan Oezdemir. Rakic's next move will be determined by how long this knee issue forces him to the sidelines.
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New date for Blachowicz fight
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 29, 2022
Rakic will now take on Jan Blachowicz in a light heavyweight matchup at the UFC event scheduled for May 14, MMA reporter Ariel Helwani reports (via Marcel Dorff of Eurosport.nl).
ANALYSIS
This was a matchup that was supposed to headline a March 26 card in Columbus, but Blachowicz was forced to withdraw due to a back injury. Rakic had been a slight favorite of roughly (-140) for that matchup, which will presumably again be the case when the two square off in May. Rakic is a much younger fighter, and he would be a perfect 7-0 under the UFC banner if it weren't for a controversial split-decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir back in 2019. He's since rebounded with decision wins over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. On paper, Rakic holds an edge in striking volume and defense, plus he should be able to negate any wrestling from Blachowicz by using a 90 percent takedown defense. Rakic is also two inches taller, but the two men have identical reaches of 78 inches.
Blachowicz withdraws with injury
Light HeavyweightUFC
January 28, 2022
Rakic won't fight Jan Blachowicz at UFC Columbus on March 26 after Blachowicz was forced to withdraw due to a back injury, MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Rakic hasn't fought since March 2021 while recovering from an ankle injury, and his return to the Octagon in Columbus is now in jeopardy. It remains to be seen whether Rakic receives a new opponent for March 26 or if he's pulled from the card in favor a new matchup with Blachowicz at a later date.
Headlining match against Blachowicz
Light HeavyweightUFC
December 1, 2021
Rakic (ankle) is targeted to face Jan Blachowicz at the UFC event schedule for March 26, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Rakic has been dealing with multiples injuries, including an ankle issue, and had to previously withdraw from his former matchup with Anthony Smith on Dec. 18. Nevertheless, it appears that Rakic will be ready to go by March 26, as Rakic is set to battle Blachowicz. The Austrian fighter is coming off a win last March over Thiago Santos, while Blachowicz most recently lost at UFC 267 to Glover Teixeira via submission in the second round, losing his championship belt. Rakic has won six of his past seven fights.
Targeting December return?
Light HeavyweightUFC
November 1, 2021
Rakic (ankle) had verbally agreed to a Dec. 18 fight against Anthony Smith before Smith was forced to withdraw due to multiple injuries, Jason Hagholm of The Scrap News reports.
ANALYSIS
While Rakic is waiting on clearance for an ankle injury of his own, Smith will be unable to make the original date due to both knee surgery and a staff infection. With Jiri Prochazka presumably next up to challenge the recently-acquired belt of Glover Teixeira, Rakic is in a bit of limbo as to who to fight next in his quest for UFC gold. He does have a controversial split decision against Volkan Oezdemir as the only blemish on his UFC record, but likely figured a rematch against a now-streaking Smith would get him more exposure. It's unclear if that is still his plan, or if he'd be willing to explore other options to stay on the Dec. 18 card.
Needs ankle injury cleared
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 9, 2021
Rakic is facing a 180-day medical suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission pending an X-ray of a possible right ankle injury, Farah Hannoun of USA Today reports.
ANALYSIS
Rakic only absorbed 49 significant strikes in Saturday's lackluster decision victory over Thiago Santos, though 16 of those strikes were to his legs. While he didn't appear to be visibly hobbled after the fight, post-fight medicals likely led to the order for additional examination. Rakic will effectively be sidelined for a minimum of 30 days, but his quest to the top of the 205-pound rankings could be delayed until the fall without this clearance.