Poland’s Jan Blasovic remembers a mistake that led to a controversial draw in his December title fight with Magomed Ankalagio and claims he learned his lesson before facing Brazil’s Alex Pereira at UFC 291 on Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah.
After failing to claim the two-time lightweight champion status last December, Blachowicz is keen to regain another shot at the title.
To make it happen, the Polish UFC star will have to rein in the ambitions of the two divisions of 205-pound rookie Alex Pereira. The former Brazilian kickboxing champion is back in the octagon after ending a short reign on the middleweight throne last April at UFC 287.
Blachowicz and Pereira will face off in the co-main event of UFC 291, and the winner will fight for the currently vacant belt against Jiří Prochazka, who will return to the cage later this year after recovering from an injury.
While this will be Pereira’s first shot at the belt, the 40-year-old rival is already familiar with it. Not only did Blachowicz grab the belt once, but he once again performed for last year’s pay-per-view finalist.
Despite a good start to betting favorite Ankalayev, the Cieszyn countryman saw the fight spiral out of control in the final rounds, which eventually ended in a draw and the title without an owner.
Before returning to the stadiums on Saturday evening, the former champion admitted the shortcomings that removed him from the throne seven months ago.
During a recent interview with New York Post’s Scott Fontana, Blachowicz was looking forward to his first Octagon appearance since the disappointing December 2022 main event.
Reflecting on the course of the duel with Ankalaev, Jan came to the conclusion that the lack of concentration means that victory may have eluded him after the break at the T-Mobile Arena.
Yet as he prepared to bout at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, the third-ranked lightweight contender vowed not to make the same mistake.
– My focus (dropped) a bit and that’s why. I thought I almost hit him. Maybe another kick, maybe two, and I thought the fight was over. concentration. I think that was the reason (not winning)
– (I have learned) to always fight to the end. If you see an opportunity to finish, grab it. Don’t wait, just go. that’s it. Don’t wait for a good moment. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and kick back. And stay focused all the time, even when you think you’re going to win the fight. Still fighting, not over. So you have to stay focused
Blachowicz will look to successfully right those wrongs this weekend as he shares a cage with one of the promotion’s most feared power players.
While pleas for the title, which Jamal Hill waived after his injury a few days earlier, to set the bout as a title match in the co-main event of UFC 291, went unheeded, Saturday’s bout will still be a major showdown for both fighters.