Jan Blachowicz did not have a long run as UFC light heavyweight champion, but it was an eventful one.
Blachowicz won the belt in September 2020 with a knockout of Dominick Reyes, who was favored that night because in his previous fight he had given longtime champ Jon Jones all he could handle. But Blachowicz got Reyes out of there in the second round.
Five months later, Blachowicz was again an underdog, this time in a champion-vs.-champion superfight with undefeated middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya. The common thinking was that "The Last Stylebender" was poised to become a two-division champ. But Blachowicz did not allow that to happen, winning a clear unanimous decision.
Last October, however, Blachowicz became an ex-champ when he was choked out by Glover Teixeira.
Blachowicz (28-9) has not fought since then, but he will be back in the Octagon on Saturday when he faces Aleksandar Rakic in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
Rakic (14-2) has won two in a row, beating a pair of onetime title challengers, Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith. Rakic is No. 5 in the ESPN light heavyweight rankings, while Blachowicz is ranked second.
Saturday's fights at the UFC Apex are on ESPN2 and ESPN+, with the main card at 10 p.m. ET and prelims at 7:30.
How to watch the fights
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There's also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.
Saturday's UFC fight card
ESPN2/ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET
Light heavyweight: Jan Blachowicz vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Light heavyweight: Ryan Spann vs. Ion Cutelaba
Men's bantamweight: Davey Grant vs. Louis Smolka
Women's flyweight: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Amanda Ribas
Lightweight: Frank Camacho vs. Manuel Torres
Men's flyweight: Jake Hadley vs. Allan Nascimento
ESPN2/ESPN+, 7:30 p.m. ET
Women's flyweight: Viviane Araujo vs. Andrea Lee
Lightweight: Michael Johnson vs. Alan Patrick
Strawweight: Virna Jandiroba vs. Angela Hill
Men's flyweight: Tatsuro Taira vs. Carlos Candelario
Middleweight: Nick Maximov vs. Andre Petroski
Ian Parker's betting tip
"Blachowicz needs to approach this fight the way he did against Israel Adesanya, and that's to lean on his wrestling to neutralize the speed and power of Rakic's strikes. Rakic is a good kickboxer but with low output, and as far as we have seen, doesn't have much answers when he is put on his back."
For Parker's main event pick and advice on other fights on Saturday's card, check out the ESPN+ expert picks and best bets article (link below). It also features analysis by Eric Nicksick, coach at Xtreme Couture MMA, and betting expert Reed Kuhn.