Jan Blachowicz knew he needed to make a serious statement Saturday to even have the slightest shot at UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. And that’s exactly what he did.
Blachowicz (26-8) recorded the 16th finish of his professional career, as he knocked out Corey Anderson (13-5) with a devastating right hand at 3:08 of the opening round. The 205-pound contest headlined UFC Fight Night at Santa Ana Center just north of Albuquerque, New Mexico — which happens to be Jones’ hometown.
Jones (26-1) was front row for the knockout and stood on top of his chair in the aftermath, as Blachowicz demanded a title shot.
“You promised me, ‘You’re next,'” Blachowicz said to Jones from inside the Octagon. “Let’s do this. Tell me when.”
Blachowicz, of Poland, has now recorded seven finishes inside the first round, none bigger than this. He dropped Anderson with a perfectly timed counter right to the chin, as Anderson came forward. Blachowicz landed one hammerstrike after Anderson had fallen, but the fight was well over before the second punch landed.
It was exactly the type of highlight-reel finish Blachowicz needed, as he was coming off a slow, five-round split decision over Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza in his last outing. There is also a high demand for Jones to accept an immediate rematch against Dominick Reyes, who he defeated in a controversial unanimous decision earlier this month in Houston.
“I thought he looked tremendous,” said Jones of Blachowicz. “Crisp boxing, good takedown defense. I’m happy to see Corey Anderson eat his words, he’s been talking so much trash … Jan has great knockout power, he’s very technical. His fundamentals are very sharp. I could totally see the UFC matching us up with each other.”
Saturday’s bout was a rematch of a fight that took place at UFC 191 in September 2015, when Anderson won via unanimous decision.
Anderson, who saw a four-fight winning streak snapped, looked crisp in the early going, working behind a steady diet of feints and jabs. Blachowicz fought cautiously, however, and apparently picked up on Anderson’s timing well enough to land the knockout punch.