The upcoming Ultimate Fighting Championship card in Canada has taken a significant blow. A major fight has been cancelled.
According to his UFC 297 opponent, Aleksandar Rakic (14-3), Jan Blachowicz (29-10-1) is out. He announced this on social media this Thursday. The light heavyweight matchup has been disrupted.
The two fighters were scheduled to face off on Jan. 20 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. However, Blachowicz has sustained a shoulder injury that requires surgery. He expressed his disappointment on Instagram.
Rakic, however, was quick to call out another opponent. He’s hoping to stay on the lineup next month.
Blachowicz wrote on Instagram, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way.” He’s feeling a mix of anger and sadness. Withdrawing from a fight due to injury is a tough decision for any fighter. But, sometimes, it’s the only option.
He continued, “Instead of fighting for the best shape, I fight with the pain during every training session.” His shoulders need surgery. In this state, continuing preparations and entering the Octagon would be irresponsible and stupid.
Blachowicz always says that when he goes into a fight, he must be 100% ready. He owes it to himself, his coaches, his opponent, and above all, the fans. He’s now waiting for the date of surgery, after which rehabilitation and return to training will follow. He promises to come back stronger.
Rakic called out Blachowicz for pulling out of the fight. He also pointed at one specific foe to fill in against him: Jiri Prochazka. The former champ responded almost immediately. He expressed interest but said he wouldn’t be able to compete until February or March.
The excited contender from Austria replied to Prochazka’s message. He asked the UFC for a slot on UFC 298 on Feb. 17 in Anaheim, California.
As of now, it’s unclear if the promotion will find a suitable replacement to keep Rakic on UFC 297. Or if the UFC will oblige the fighter back-and-forth on social media. Or if it will go a different direction entirely.
UFC 297 on Jan. 20 will remain at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The headliner will be Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis for the middleweight championship. The co-main attraction will also be for a belt. Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva will vie for the vacant 135-pound strap.
Other main card bouts that remain on the lineup include Neil Magny vs. Mike Malott at welterweight. And a featherweight clash pitting Arnold Allen against Movsar Evloev.