MMA

UFC on ESPN 36: Aleksandar Rakic vs Jan Blachowicz Picks, Predictions, Odds

Jan Blachowicz vs Aleksandar Rakic
May 14, 2022 11:45 pm EDT
The Line: Aleksandar Rakic -210 / Jan Blachowicz +180
(Click here for latest betting odds)

Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakic fight Saturday in UFC on ESPN 36 at the UFC Apex. Blachowicz enters this fight with a 28-9 record and has won 39 percent of his fights by decision. Rakic enters this fight with a 14-2 record and has won 64 percent of his fights by knockout.

Blachowicz has won nine of his last 11 fights and is coming off an October loss to Glover Teixeira. Blachowicz is averaging 3.59 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 49 percent. Blachowicz is averaging 1.14 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Blachowicz is coming off a submission loss at UFC 267 where he ate 71 total strikes and lost the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. The loss snapped a five fight winning streak, and Blachowicz looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since 2016-17. A black belt in BJJ, Blachowicz is a scrappy Polish fighter who is willing to push the pace and trade on the feet. Blachowicz can take a punch and keep coming forward, and he has decent defense on the feet despite his aggressive style. Blachowicz is also a solid takedown artist who has a strong ground and pound and nine career submission victories. Blachowicz also has above average cardio that’s allowed him to be effective from start to finish and has helped him win 11 of his 16 career decisions. This will be Blachowicz’s fourth career fight in Nevada.

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Rakic has won five of his last six fights and is coming off a March (2021) win over Thiago Santos. Rakic is averaging 4.23 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 52 percent. Rakic is averaging 0.75 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 25 percent. Rakic is coming off a decision win at UFC 259 where he landed 50 total strikes and 40 percent of his significant strikes. Rakic has now won two fights since his 2019 loss to Volkan Oezdemir, and he’s 6-1 under the UFC banner. Rakic is a technical fighter with a background in boxing and kickboxing, and he’s very smart on his feet defensively. Rakic is an accurate striker who picks his spots well, and he’s quite quick with his hands for somebody who is so lengthy at 6’5” and has a 78-inch reach. A brown belt in BJJ, Rakic has also improved his grappling skills over the years and has displayed a highly effective ground and pound. This will be Rakic’s third career fight in Nevada.

There’s a chance this could be a boring decision with little action to excite casual fans. I’d expect this bout to go the distance. With that said, Rakic is the younger fighter who is fresh from a long layoff, and he’s more athletic, quicker on the feet that gives him a big advantage. As good as Blachowicz has been throughout his career, he’s not getting any younger and his work rate has shown signs of slowing down. The pressure from Teixeira gave Blachowicz issues, and I’d expect Rakic to take a page out of that book. Hopefully it’s more exciting in the octagon than it looks on paper.

Give me Rakic in a decision to shave down the ML price.

Randy Chambers's Free Pick:
Aleksandar Rakic By Decision

Randy Chambers

Randy has covered sports betting since 2014 and writes about everything from NFL to WNBA.

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