Jan Blachowicz will have to wait a bit longer before trying to bounce back from losing the UFC light heavyweight championship. An injury has forced Blachowicz out of his planned March 26 main event clash with Aleksandar Rakic at UFC Fight Night in Columbus, Ohio.
According to an initial report by Ariel Helwani, the UFC is looking to keep the fight together for later in the year, meaning the event needs a headliner. A tweet by Blachowicz explaining the injury appeared to back up the idea that the fight would be delayed rather than scrapped entirely.
"Unfortunately I will not fight March 26th at #UFCColumbus," Blachowicz wrote. "I have an injury in my spine around the neck area. That makes it impossible to train with heavy weights. I need to fix that now. I hope we will meet with @rakic_ufc in the octagon in the first half of this year."
Blachowicz is one fight removed from a one-sided submission loss to Glover Teixeira that snapped a five-fight winning streak and cost him the championship in October 2021. He won the then-vacant title in September 2020 with a TKO win over Dominick Reyes and successfully defended the belt against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in March 2021.
Rakic has only lost once in the UFC Octagon -- and once since dropping his pro debut -- and is riding a two-fight winning streak after decisioning Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos. His lone UFC loss was a widely disputed split decision defeat to Volkan Oezdemir.
The winner of the eventual fight between Blachowicz and Rakic could determine a challenger for the winner of the upcoming championship bout between Teixeira and Jirí Prochazka at UFC 274 on May 7.