With light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz expected to defend his title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 266 on September 4th, Aleksandar Rakic has called for a title eliminator with Jiri Prochazka.
Prochazka has made a blistering start to his UFC career. He brutally knocked out Volkan Oezdemir in his promotional debut at UFC 251, before stopping Dominick Reyes in a similar fashion this past weekend at UFC Vegas 25.
Prochazka has called for a title shot, and many fans believe he deserves it. However, Rakic believes he’s also in the mix, and the best way to settle the dispute is with a title eliminator, he told MMA Junkie.
“He did a great performance,” Rakic said. “He knocked out Reyes. He’s now a top contender, and this fight makes sense against Jiri. The result what happened on Saturday is the best thing that could have happened to me because this wakes my attention, my motivation. I’m even now more motivated to go back to the gym, to train harder and harder.
“This fight against Jiri makes the most sense now, and Glover is going to fight Jan in September. Who else is gonna fight Jiri instead of me? Who?”
While Rakic has gone 6-1 inside the Octagon, he received criticism in his last fight against Thiago Santos at UFC 259 for his lacklustre performance. ‘Rocket’ however, has no plans to change his fighting style for anyone.
“Everybody is talking about my last two fights. They were boring, and I didn’t knock them out,” Rakic said. “Everybody had that one fight that was not so spectacular, and in the last fight against Santos, we knew he’s dangerous in the counters, so I was a little bit patient with my attacks because he’s wild, wild countering. So that’s the reason the fight went like this, but a win is a win.
“I know I can knock anybody out in the division, and I can finish anybody in the division. It’s just a matter of time. I don’t want to force any knockouts or any submission. It will come by itself. But I know what I’m capable of doing, and this is the fight that makes the most sense, me and Jiri, and the winner is gonna fight for the title.”
‘He Makes Mistakes’
Rakic has been studying Prochazka for a potential matchup, and has seen holes in the former RIZIN champion’s game, which he says he will exploit when the time comes.
“He’s very aggressive,” Rakic stated. “He’s coming forward. I’ve been watching him with my team. He’s a very good, aggressive, offensive striker. I didn’t see so much grappling and wrestling, I saw just in the last fight. I see some holes in his game especially. He’s unorthodox, and you need to deal with this unorthodox style, and I think his style would match up perfect because when I’m in the Octagon I’m ice cold and every mistake, he will need to pay.
“He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, but he has mistakes, and if I can catch him in the right moment, it’s gonna be a knockout. But if not, I’m working a lot on my grappling and wrestling in the last few years, and I see the most advantage in the grappling and wrestling area against Jiri, but if it’s going the distance, I will also be ready to go five or three rounds for war. It doesn’t matter.”
Timeline For Fight
Ideally, Rakic would love to fight Prochazka on the same card as Blachowicz vs Teixeira at UFC 266.
“If the UFC want to do it with me and Jiri in September on the same card as Jan and Glover, that would be great for the division,” Rakic said. “It’s up to the UFC what they want. It’s a lot of hype around Jiri, and I understand this. He did a very good job, but someone needs to stop the hype.”
Do you think a potential title eliminator between Aleksandar Rakic and Jiri Prochazka makes sense?