Jan Blachowicz is officially out of his UFC 297 rematch with Aleksandar Rakic.
The former light heavyweight announced on social media that a shoulder injury sustained while training has forced him to bow out of the January scrap. He will undergo surgery to repair the damage.
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” Blachowicz wrote on Instagram. “It’s hard to express how I feel because it’s a mixture of anger and sadness. Withdrawing from a fight due to injury is one of the most difficult decisions a fighter can make. However, sometimes there is no other option, especially when you are competing in the top five and want to put on a show at the highest possible level.
“Instead of fighting for the best shape, I fight with the pain during every training session. I did everything I could, but my shoulders need surgery. In this state, continuing preparations and entering the Octagon would be irresponsible and stupid.
“I always say that when I go into a fight, I must be 100 percent ready. I owe it to myself, my coaches, my opponent and, above all, the fans. Thank you in advance for your support! I am waiting for the date of surgery, after which rehabilitation and return to training will follow. I promise I will come back stronger!”
It’s an undeniably disappointing turn of events for Blachowicz who was intent on returning to the win column following his split decision loss against new light heavyweight champion, Alex Pereira, in July.
Aleksandar Rakic calls for jiri prochazka to replace jan blachowicz at UFC 297
In response to the new, Aleksandar Rakic wasted no time calling on former 205-pound titleholder Jiri Prochazka to step in and take Blachowicz’s spot.
“You can never lose a rematch when you pull out for the second time. Legendary bullsh*t,” Rakic wrote. “Let’s see if the samurai has the balls to step up on Jan. 20th.”
Prochazka gladly accepted the offer, but with him being less than a month removed from a second-round knockout loss to Alex Pereira, ‘Denisa’ is unable to make the relatively quick turnaround that Rakic is requesting. However, Prochazka did counter with an offer to meet the Austrian standout in February or March.
“I am in, but the earliest time I can be in octagon is February/March,” Prochazka wrote. “Accept?”
With Aleksandar Rakic still keen on keeping his January slot, it remains to be seen if the UFC pursues another opponent for ‘Rocket’ or pushes his next appearance back to accommodate Prochazka’s recovery.
Emanating from the mysterious land of Toronto, Canada, UFC 297 will feature two massive world title fights, including the first defense of newly minted middleweight champion Sean Strickland. ‘Tarzan’ puts his 185-pound crown on the line against No. 2 ranked contender Dricus Du Plessis in the evening’s main event.
In the co-main event, Mayra Bueno Silva and Octagon veteran Raquel Pennington will battle it out for the vacant women’s bantamweight title.