The UFC returns to Las Vegas this weekend with a Light Heavyweight fight at the Apex.
Former champ Jan Blachowicz will take on Aleksandar Rakic as he makes another run toward the title.
Ion Cutelaba and Ryan Spann also do battle at Light Heavyweight in the co main event in an intriguing match up.
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Aleksandar Rakic lost his debut professional fight but since then he has won 14 of his next 15 including six of seven inside the biggest promotion in the UFC.
His single loss in the UFC came via a split decision loss against Volkan Oezdemir in December 2019.
Jan Blachowicz is the former champion of the division.
He went through Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza and Corey Anderson to get his title shot where he won via TKO against Dominick Reyes.
Blachowicz then defended his belt against the previously unbeaten Israel Adesanya before losing to 44 year old Glover Teixeira in his last outing.
He is not the most athletic fighter on the roster but he is a good boxer who picks his shots well.
Rakic is an accomplished kick boxer and the far younger man at 30 years of age compared to Blachowicz at 39.
I’m really struggling to split these two in head to head betting but I do think one of these two strikers will end the fight in the earlier rounds.
Ryan Spann is currently ranked 13 in the Light Heavyweight division and comes into this fight having won nine of his last 11 but just one of his last three.
Johnny Walker got the better of him in September 2020 when he was knocked out in the first round and Anthony Smith submitted him via a rear-naked choke in September 2021.
Ion Cutelaba has just the two wins in his last six fights although one of them was a horrible decision by the referee to stop the fight against Magomed Ankalaev the first time they fought.
He has not been shy in fighting some very dangerous guys in the division including current champ Glover Teixeira and Dustin Jacoby (who he drew with).
Both of these guys are big, flat footed and heavy hitters so we will be in for a cracker of a fight.
Cutelaba is a more rounded mixed martial artist with solid wrestling and vicious elbows in the clinch and if he can avoid Spann’s big shots, I think he gets the win.
Katlyn Chookagian is a much improved fighter over the past couple of years and it shows on her record.
Since she lost her title eliminator fight against Jessica Andrade she has put together three wins in a row .
Amanda Ribas steps back up in weight to Flyweight for this contest.
The BJJ black belt has just two losses in her professional career and seven of her 11 wins have been by KO/TKO or submission.
Chookagian is a decision machine and her biggest strength is keeping busy on the feet, making it very difficult for her opponent to score points.
Amanda Ribas’s pathway to victory in my opinion will be to control the fight on the canvas for extended periods of time.
This is not to say she is not a competent striker but she should be shooting whenever she can.