The UFC will travel for the first time in Prague, Czech Republic this Saturday, February 23 (Sunday, February 24 in Manila) for UFC Fight Night 145 headlined by former KSW Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Błachowicz (23-7) against feared knockout artist Thiago Santos (20-6).
After a successful reign in the Polish KSW circuit where he compiled a 17-3 record, Błachowicz signed a contract to fight in the Light Heavyweight division of the UFC in 2014.
The 35-year-old submission specialist had a lackluster start to his octagon career, dropping three of his first five bouts with losses to the likes of Alexander Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa.
4 fight winning streak after wakeup loss to Cummins
Błachowicz career was certainly hanging in the balance after he dropped another close bout against fellow grappler Patrick Cummins in 2017. He started to seek outside guidance and trained occasionally at the Alliance MMA, where he picked the brain of former opponent Gustafsson, as well as big names like Dominick Cruz and Phil Davis.
Błachowicz finally displayed the dominant form he had in KSW and went on a tear by going undefeated in his next four bouts—starting with an impressive standing bulldog choke finish against Devin Clark. The bout earned him his first Performance of the Night award.
He then racked up impressive decisions over Jared Cannonier and managed to avenge an earlier loss to Manuwa. His biggest win to date, however, came in September last year, when he faced rising contender and crowd favourite Nikita Krylov in Moscow.
In a classic case of experience overcoming youth, Błachowicz followed his game plan perfectly and eventually had his way on the ground with Krylov. He forced the Ukranian to tap with a tight arm triangle choke with 2:41 left in the second round.