Las Vegas, May 7: UFC returns to the APEX with a thrilling light heavyweight contenders' battle that will see former champion and current No. 1 ranked Jan Blachowicz take on surging No. 3 Aleksandar Rakic in UFC Vegas 54: Blachowicz vs. Rakic on May 14.
Blachowicz (28-9, fighting out of Warsaw, Poland) aims to kick off his 2022 campaign with another spectacular KO victory. During his UFC run, he has delivered memorable wins against Israel Adesanya, Dominick Reyes and Luke Rockhold.
Blachowicz now looks to stop Rakic's momentum with a show-stealing performance and set himself up for another crack at the championship.
Rakic (14-2, fighting out of Vienna, Austria) hopes to keep his momentum going following victories over former title challengers Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith.
A well-rounded competitor with KO power, he has also secured notable stoppage victories over Jimi Manuwa and Devin Clark. Rakic now hopes to take out a former champion and stake his claim for his first UFC title shot.
In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 54, scheduled to take place next week, No. 13 ranked light heavyweight Ryan Spann battles dangerous striker Ion Cutelaba.
Spann plans to turn heads with another highlight reel victory. A Dana White's Contender Series veteran, he has earned exciting finishes against Misha Cirkunov, Devin Clark and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Spann now intends to defend his spot in the Top 15 by stopping Cutelaba in emphatic fashion.
Heavy-handed Cutelaba is gunning for the biggest victory of his career. An aggressive striker, he has delivered thrilling knockouts over Khalil Rountree Jr., Gadzhimurad Antigulov and Henrique da Silva. Cutelaba now has his sights set on finishing Spann to crack the light heavyweight Top 15.
Additional bouts on the card include:
• Davey Grant (13-6, fighting out of Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England) battles Louis Smolka (17-8, fighting out of Kapolei, Hawaii) in an exciting bantamweight matchup.
• No. 2 ranked women's flyweight contender Katlyn Chookagian (17-4, fighting out of Amity Harbor, N.Y. by way of Quakertown, Penn.) looks to spoil the 125-pound return of No. 8 strawweight Amanda Ribas (11-2, fighting out of Varginha, Minas Gerais, Brazil).
• Frank Camacho (22-9, fighting out of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands) faces debuting Dana White's Contender Series signee Manuel Torres (12-2, fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico).
• Dana White's Contender Series contract winner Jake Hadley (8-0, fighting out of Oldbury, Sandwell, England) debuts against Allan Nascimento (17-6, fighting out of Sao Paulo, Brazil) in a flyweight bout.
• No. 8 ranked women's flyweight contender Viviane Araujo (10-3, fighting out of Brasília, Federal District, Brazil) takes on Andrea Lee (13-5, fighting out of Shreveport, La.).
• Fan favorite Michael Johnson (20-17, fighting out of St. Louis, Mo.) returns to action against Alan Patrick (15-3 1NC, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at lightweight.
• No. 11 ranked strawweight contender Virna Jandiroba (17-3, fighting out of Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil) collides with No. 12 Angela Hill (13-11, fighting out of San Diego, Calif.).
• Undefeated flyweight Tatsuro Taira (10-0, fighting out of Naha, Okinawa, Japan) debuts against Dana White's Contender Series contract winner Carlos Candelario (8-1, fighting out of Hartford, Conn.).
• Undefeated Nick Maximov (8-0, fighting out of Stockton, Calif.) squares off with The Ultimate Fighter season 28 veteran Andre Petroski (7-2, fighting out of Philadelphia, Penn.).
UFC Vegas 54 (also known as UFC Fight Night: Blachowicz vs. Rakic) will take place on Saturday, May 14 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
The main card will be available on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, as well as simulcast in English and Spanish on ESPN+, starting at 10 PM ET / 7 PM PT. The prelims will kick off on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 7:30 PM ET / 4:30 PM PT.
Source: Press Release