It’s wasn’t the sort of fireworks-filled fracas that MMA fans expected, but Jan Blachowicz got the job done in enemy territory in the main event of UFC Fight Night 164 Saturday night.
Blachowicz (25-8) took on and eked past fan favorite Ronaldo Souza at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, via split decision. The bout wasn’t exactly a candidate for Fight of the Year as the two light heavyweights fought largely in the clinch. “Jacare” attempted countless takedowns but Blachowicz stuffed them all. And when the two light heavyweights weren’t tired up against the cage, the Pole landed scattered jabs to keep Souza (26-8, 1 NC) at bay.
The sellout crowd grew restless as they cheered their hero on and jeered whenever Blachowicz neutralized the jiu-jitsu wizard. “Jacare” seemed to win the first few rounds but gave the fight away down the stretch, resulting in Blachowicz winning a split decision. Naturally, the crowd and Souza disagree with the judges’ verdict, but not Blachowicz.
“I won the fight,” Blachowicz said after his win. “’Jacare’ is a tough opponent but what matters is that I won. If Jon Jones wants it, I am ready to fight for the belt.”
Blachowicz makes a decent case for him landing a title shot next. Though he toppled a former middleweight contender making his 205-pound debut who has lost three of four, the Pole has won two straight and six of seven overall. He’s ascending the rankings ladder and with not many opponents for champion Jon Jones to fight that he hasn’t already, Blachowicz is in a good position.
“I want someone from the top,” he said. “Maybe a title shot. Why not? I’m ready. Give me the fight. Give me the title shot because I don’t have time. Maybe three more years and I go to retirement. It’s now or never.”
At the post-fight press conference, Blachowicz was asked who he’d like to fight next if Jones isn’t the one. With several younger contenders trying to crack the Top 5, there are options. However, the Berkut WCA Fight Team star only had two names.
“I will wait for Dominick Reyes or Jon Jones,” he stated. “No problem. I’m just going to wait for either from the UFC.”