After opponent Aleksandar Rakic revealed Thursday that their scheduled Jan. 20 fight was canceled, Blachowicz issued a statement on social media. He expressed “anger and sadness” toward the situation. The reason for withdrawing, Blachowicz said, is a shoulder injury he tried to push through but couldn’t.
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” Blachowicz said in an Instagram post. “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 5 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.”
Blachowicz did not reveal a specific timetable for his return.
It’s unclear if Rakic will remain on the card against a new opponent. However, former champion Jiri Prochazka offered his services on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday in response to Rakic calling him out – but there is a timeline stipulation.
“I am in, but the earliest time I can be in octagon is February/March,” Prochazka wrote.
Iam in, but the earliest time I can be in octagon is February/March.
— Jiri BJP Prochazka (@jiri_bjp) December 7, 2023
The fight between Blachowicz and Rakic was supposed to be a rematch. The two fought in May 2022. That bout ended in third-round TKO due to injury when Rakic blew his knee out.
Blachowicz, 40, is 0-1-1 since that meeting. Rakic has yet to compete since.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.