Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz has confirmed that he’ll be going under the knife following his victory this past weekend. Saturday’s UFC Vegas 54 main event pitted two European elites against each other, one looking to rebound from a devastating championship defeat, and the other looking to continue his ascent towards a first…
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz has confirmed that he’ll be going under the knife following his victory this past weekend.
Saturday’s UFC Vegas 54 main event pitted two European elites against each other, one looking to rebound from a devastating championship defeat, and the other looking to continue his ascent towards a first title shot.
But despite adding another top name to his record in what was his 29th professional win, as well as cementing his place as the #1-ranked light heavyweight in the UFC, it wasn’t all positive for the Polish powerhouse.
In the first round, Blachowicz suffered a nasty cut under his left eye, something that was visibly affecting him inside the cage. During his appearance at the post-fight press conference, the former titleholder admitted being unsure as to whether it came as a result of a punch or an illegal eye poke.
“I don’t know (how it happened). I feel it when it happened. It was in the beginning of the first round, one of the first punches. I don’t see anything in the first round with this eye. (Michael Bisping) said it was a finger, Aleksandar said it was a punch.”
Nevertheless, it was severe enough to leave Blachowicz requiring surgery. He said he’s expecting the procedure to take place today, with the magnitude of the operation unknown.
“It’s OK, but I’m going to have some small surgery on Monday on this eye,” revealed Blachowicz. “Doctor says maybe it’s going to be small, maybe going to be bigger. He don’t know yet. He need to check in the hospital.”
UFC lightweight Michael Johnson felt he had more on the line for him than most realized entering UFC Vegas 54. Johnson made a triumphant return to the Octagon at UFC Vegas 54, earning a second-round knockout of Alan Patrick. The victory snapped a four-fight losing skid and was his first in nearly four years. Johnson,…
UFC lightweight Michael Johnson felt he had more on the line for him than most realized entering UFC Vegas 54.
Johnson made a triumphant return to the Octagon at UFC Vegas 54, earning a second-round knockout of Alan Patrick. The victory snapped a four-fight losing skid and was his first in nearly four years.
Johnson, a veteran of the lightweight division, has competed against most of the top contenders in UFC history. Despite his strength of schedule, some believed it was a ‘do or die’ moment for Johnson and his UFC tenure at UFC Vegas 54.
“Fuck, I was fighting for my life,” Johnson admitted. “Forget the job. I need to make ends meet. I need to be successful. This is where I get my main paycheck, this is where I take care of myself and I can help my family get through hard times. I definitely needed this, I definitely needed to get back on track, to get a bit of weight off my shoulders.
“I wasn’t going to be satisfied with a decision win, I needed to go out there and put a statement win on to show and prove to everybody and the UFC that I still got it, I’m not going anywhere. I’m 35 and I’m just getting better.”
After getting back in the win column, many of his UFC colleagues praised Johnson for his performance. His last win came against Artem Lobov at a UFC Fight Night event in Oct. 2018.
Johnson had attempted a move to featherweight with little success, and he seems to be back on track at 155lbs. At 35 years old, he has plenty of time to jump back into lightweight contention and could get a big-name opponent for his next fight.
What are your thoughts on Michael Johnson’s comments?
UFC light heavyweight contender Aleksandar Raki? alleges his UFC Vegas 54 knee tear wasn’t a new injury, and that he suffered it earlier in camp. Raki? battled former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in the UFC Vegas 54 headliner. After two full rounds of action, he suffered a leg injury which stopped the action…
UFC light heavyweight contender Aleksandar Raki? alleges his UFC Vegas 54 knee tear wasn’t a new injury, and that he suffered it earlier in camp.
Raki? battled former UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in the UFC Vegas 54 headliner. After two full rounds of action, he suffered a leg injury which stopped the action midway through Round 3.
But according to Raki?, this was something he had been dealing with for weeks leading up to the fight.
“A great battle took place in the octagon tonight but unfortunately it ended not the way Jan and I or the fans wanted,” Rakic said. “The same injury from 3 weeks ago in camp showed up again tonight. Congratulations [Jan Blachowicz]. Now on to the road of recovery.”
Raki? came into the fight riding off of back-to-back wins over former title challengers Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. His lone defeat in the Octagon came via a split decision against Volkan Oezdemir in December 2019.
It was a back-and-forth war between Blachowicz and Raki? before the injury. Entering Round 3, all three judges had it scored an even 19-19 following two rounds of action.
Raki? had been on the verge of a potential title shot before the injury stoppage loss to Blachowicz. He even called his shot before the Blachowicz fight for who he would’ve preferred to fight against for the title.
Raki? could potentially miss the rest of 2022, although as of the writing of this story there isn’t an exact timetable made public for his return.
What is your reaction to Aleksandar Raki?’s admission?
On Saturday night, the MMA leader returned to our screens for its latest fight night event, UFC Vegas 54. With another pay-per-view in the books, this weekend’s action headed back to the serene surroundings of Nevada’s Apex facility, where a new set of fighters looked to follow in the entertaining footsteps of Charles Oliveira, Michael…
As well as a 205-pound appetizer in the co-main event between Ryan Spann and Ion Cu?elaba, entertaining names like Davey Grant, Katlyn Chookagian, Amanda Ribas, Michael Johnson, and Viviane Araujo were also in action, as well as promising debutants like Jake Hadley and Tatsuro Taira.
The 11-fight card certainly showed promise beforehand and was perhaps one of the stronger UFC Fight Night lineups in recent memory. But did it deliver? Let’s find out with the positives and negatives from UFC Vegas 54.
Positive – An Underdog Kicks Us Off In Style
There aren’t many better ways to start off a card than an underdog as high as +300 taking an opponent’s 0 inside one round. At UFC Vegas 54, TUF alum Andre Petroski kicked off proceedings by doing exactly that.
It was perhaps surprising that the middleweight bout between Petroski and Nick Maximov, a teammate of Nate Diaz, was chosen to open the card. But with how it started the night, it certainly turned out to be a fruitful choice.
After a brief battle on the feet, which saw leg kicks traded and some wild swings, Maximov was the one to change levels, shooting for Petroski’s leg. After a quick scramble, the 30-year-old attacked his counterpart’s neck, locking in a tight anaconda choke. Within seconds, Maximov was unconscious and awoke to a first loss added to his record.
In a battle of two elite wrestlers, it was shocking to see such an early submission, especially out of the toolbox of one of the night’s biggest underdogs. Petroski is now 3-0 in the UFC, and with back-to-back chokes, he’s given fair warning for his future opponents to protect their necks.
If the Pennsylvania native gets his post-fight callout answered, Gerald Meerschaert will provide a stiff test of his submission game and defense. Unfortunately, judging by the veteran’s response on Twitter, Singapore’s UFC 275 will come too soon.
But Petroski vs. “GM3” later this year? We’re down.
Positive – A Future Star Debuts
Not many have arrived in the Octagon as highly touted as Tatsuro Taira is. At UFC Vegas 54, the Japanese prospect faced his opening challenge in the form of tough two-time Dana White’s Contender Series competitor Carlos Candelario.
It’s safe to say that Taira passed his first test with flying colors.
While he was taken the full 15-minute distance, there was little doubt about the result. As well as displaying his speed, grappling prowess, rapid position advancements and reversals, and technical footwork, we also got to see Taira tackle a gritty opponent who simply wouldn’t go away.
The bout wasn’t without its challenges for the young newcomer, who had to escape from one particularly tight choke. But nevertheless, the closing aesthetic of Taira reigning down elbows and strikes from mount certainly made a statement.
At just 22 years old, the sky appears to be the limit for Taira. As well as his impressive debut delivering a positive, the arrival of a new youthful and exciting flyweight to the entertaining weight class was one of UFC Vegas 54’s highs, and that’s without mentioning his great hand-written post-fight callout.
Japan has been after a new breakout star in mixed martial arts, and it seems they’ve found the perfect figure in Taira.
Positive – Effective Grappling
Grappling fans were certainly treated across the opening three bouts at UFC Vegas 54.
After Petroski’s fast submission and Taira’s impressive ability to advance position and deliver ground-and-pound, Virna Jandiroba took up the mantle with her high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Across three rounds, “Carcará” secured a dominant decision over Angela Hill after utilizing her ground talents to great effect.
On Friday, Bellator 281’s main event created discussion and controversy, both about the result and the application of the scoring criteria. In London, Logan Storley secured the interim welterweight title via split decision over Michael “Venom” Page. Throughout most of the fight, the American wrestler held MVP on the ground and against the cage, but without attempting submissions or landing anything significant.
After the bout, Bellator President Scott Coker expressed his disagreement with the verdict, as did some fans and pundits. While Coker has received criticism for his take, he has a point. Grappling must be effective in the sense that it’s utilized to deliver potentially fight-ending offense. Storley didn’t accomplish that. You know who did? Jandiroba.
From her first-round kneebar to her second-frame armbar attempt and ground-and-pound, the Brazilian perfectly displayed the “effective offense” element that was missing from Storley’s game on Friday.
Given the debate that was incited the night before, having a perfect example of effective grappling at UFC Vegas 54 was needed, and certainly a positive.
Positive – A KO That Was A Long Time Coming
We had a grappling-heavy start, but striking fans got their fill at UFC Vegas 54 courtesy of the fast hands of 25-fight promotional veteran Michael Johnson.
Johnson has seemingly become one of the UFC’s forgotten men. Heading into Saturday’s event, Johnson, who boasts victories over Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, and Edson Barboza, was riding a four-fight losing streak, with his most recent setback coming to Clay Guida last February.
But not many have snapped a skid as emphatically as “The Menace” did inside the Apex.
Against Alan Patrick, the 35-year-old delivered a four-punch combination that sent his Brazilian foe to the canvas. From there, a brutal right hand shut the lights out before a follow-up shot extended Patrick’s nap.
As well as a UFC mainstay making his way back to the win column, the manner in which Johnson did so was a big positive of UFC Vegas 54.
Negative – ‘They’re Dirty Brazilians’
It perhaps says a lot about the UFC (and MMA) that Tony Kelley said this without hesitation or second thought in the corner of his partner Andrea Lee. Then again, perhaps it’s just indicative of Kelley.
After the first round of Lee’s fight with Viviane Araujo, UFC bantamweight Kelley responded to his fighter’s claim that the Brazilian did something illegal. The Louisianan suggested “that’s what they’re going to do,” further branding Araujo and her compatriots as “dirty f*cking Brazilians.”
Considering that statement came from the same man who chose a 20+-hour fight week drive to avoid wearing a mask for three hours on a flight, perhaps it’s not all that shocking.
Nevertheless, the remark was unsavory, unnecessary, and should have no place in mixed martial arts. While that comment was grim, his “you smoked her ass” re-assurance to Lee after she’d convincingly lost was also questionable.
Perhaps Adrian Yanez will knock some sense into him on June 18…
Positive – “Dangerous” Davey Brings The Violence
If Michael Johnson had set the violence bar during the prelims, “Dangerous” Davey Grant at least matched it in his main card fight versus Louis Smolka.
Bringing a level of destruction that we last saw Grant’s hands create against Jonathan Martinez last March, the 36-year-old slept 17-fight UFC vet Smolka with some truly vicious ground-and-pound following a brief scramble.
From the brutal calf kicks that sent Smolka to the ground to the grimace-worthy strikes that ended the contest, Grant’s performance was one of the most memorable of the night.
With that said, he can consider himself extremely unlucky not to be taking home a fifth-straight performance bonus. Sort him out with something Dana!
Negative – An Unfortunate Ending
UFC Vegas 54 was a great card with some great submissions and knockouts. The one thing that was missing? An entertaining and definitive main event.
Saturday’s headliner boasted high stakes, with Jan Blachowicz looking to work his way back to the title and Aleksandar Raki? hoping to secure his own rise to the top. Unfortunately, while one man did accomplish his target, it didn’t come in the way anyone would have hoped for.
Early in the third round, the bout came to an anticlimactic end after Raki? appeared to suffer a serious knee injury. After moving backwards under attack from Blachowicz, the Austrian’s knee blew out, sending him to the ground in pain. Credit must go to the former champion for not following up with shots.
Although there’s yet to be any confirmation as to the severity of the injury, it seems likely that “Rocket” tore his ACL, as well as perhaps further ligament damage. If that is the case, fans won’t be seeing Raki? inside the Octagon for some time.
Ultimately, it was quite a sour end to a very strong event, and that’s a negative.
While Glover Teixeira offered Blachowicz a rematch following the fight, which, of course, depends on the Brazilian’s upcoming defense against Ji?í Procházka, Magomed Ankalaev will certainly think that an impressive performance against Anthony Smith at UFC 277 could perhaps help him leapfrog Blachowicz given the fashion of the Pole’s victory on Saturday.
What were your positives and negatives from UFC Vegas 54?
Katlyn Chookagian and Amanda Ribas put on one of the best fights of 2022 and were paid for their efforts following UFC Vegas 54. Chookagian defeated Ribas via split decision on the UFC Vegas 54 main card. It was a back-and-forth battle from start to finish and both fighters took home ‘Fight of the Night’…
Katlyn Chookagian and Amanda Ribas put on one of the best fights of 2022 and were paid for their efforts following UFC Vegas 54.
Chookagian defeated Ribas via split decision on the UFC Vegas 54 main card. It was a back-and-forth battle from start to finish and both fighters took home ‘Fight of the Night’ $50k bonuses following the event.
Chookagian, the No. 1 flyweight contender and a former title challenger, could get the next title shot against the Valentina Shevchenko/Taila Santos winner. She recently signed a new contract after entering free agency following her last win over Jennifer Maia.
Chookagian vs. Ribas wasn’t the only standout performance on the card. In the UFC Vegas 54 co-main event, light heavyweight Ryan Spann earned a statement win by choking out veteran Ion Cutelaba midway through the first round.
Spann has now won three of his last five fights despite losses to Johnny Walker and Anthony Smith. He earned a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus for his victory.
The other POTN bonus went to UFC debuting Manuel Torres, who earned a vicious first-round knockout of Frank Camacho following a series of wild exchanges.
Torres earned a shot in the UFC after an impressive showing on Dana White’s Contender Series last October, with a first-round knockout of Kolton Englund. He’s now won four straight fights.
What was your reaction watching Katlyn Chookagian vs. Amanda Ribas?
UFC fighter Tony Kelley has addressed his controversial remarks aimed at Brazil that were caught on the UFC Vegas 54 broadcast on Saturday. Kelley was at the UFC Apex to corner his Synergy MMA teammate Andrea Lee for her featured preliminary bout against Viviane Araujo. Midway through the fight, Araujo caught Lee with an accidental…
UFC fighter Tony Kelley has addressed his controversial remarks aimed at Brazil that were caught on the UFC Vegas 54 broadcast on Saturday.
Kelley was at the UFC Apex to corner his Synergy MMA teammate Andrea Lee for her featured preliminary bout against Viviane Araujo. Midway through the fight, Araujo caught Lee with an accidental eye poke that prompted an angry reaction from Kelley and the rest of Lee’s corner.
Kelley was slammed by his fellow UFC colleagues, including a response from Belal Muhammad. After feeling the backlash of his remarks, Kelley took the time to address his comments and deny any wrongdoing.
“Cancel Culture is real,” Kelley tweeted. “What I said was real and in the heat of battle, and in no way had any type of racist connotations meant…but if that’s the way you take it, idgaf. So many people quick to say racist..that shits getting so old. My reference was to a dirty eye poke.”
UFC President Dana White wasn’t in attendance for UFC Vegas 54 and the promotion hasn’t publically commented on Kelley’s remarks.
Kelley, a UFC bantamweight, is scheduled to battle Adrian Yanez at UFC Austin on June 18. He’s won back-to-back fights over Randy Costa and Ali AlQaisi.
What are your thoughts on Tony Kelley’s controversial remarks?