Jan Blachowicz and Aleksandar Rakić are no longer starring at UFC Columbus.
MMA Kultura on Instagram reported that the former UFC light heavyweight king was forced to withdraw from the upcoming event after sustaining an unknown injury during practice. The report was then confirmed by Ariel Helwani, who revealed the plan is to reschedule the fight for another date.
The Polish star has since addressed his injury, explaining that it is around the neck area and needs to be fixed immediately.
Unfortunately I will not fight March 26 at #UFCColumbus. I have an injury in my spine around the neck area. This makes it impossible to exercise with heavy weights. I have to fix it now.
I hope we will meet with @rakic_ufc in the octagon in the first half of this year.
– Jan Blachowicz (@JanBlachowicz) 28 January 2022
“Unfortunately I will not March 26 to fight [UFC Columbus], ”Blachowicz wrote on Twitter. “I have an injury in my spine around the neck area. This makes it impossible to exercise with heavy weights. I have to fix it now. I hope we will meet Rakić in the octagon in the first half of this year. “
Blachowicz returned to the Octagon after losing his championship to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267, where he was submitted via second-round fake choke. The 38-year-old was previously on a five-fight winning streak that included the finishes of Luke Rockhold, Corey Anderson and Dominick Reyes, the latter of which was a title-winning attempt. He successfully defend his belt against Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 this past March.
Rakić went from a relative newcomer to a contender within two years. ‘Rocket’ started his tenure with four consecutive victories before taking a step into competition against one-time title challenger Volkan Oezdemir at UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. The Korean Zombie was given in 2019. He lost a narrowly divided decision to No Time ‘, but bounced back with two decision wins Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos at UFC Vegas 8 and UFC 259, respectively. After those performances, Rakić believed he needed a title shot. However, it will have to wait until its next appearance.
There’s no word yet on what fight is now expected to serve as the new mainstay for UFC Columbus. Among the options is a no. 1 contender between flyweights Kai Kara-France and Askar Askarov.