UFC on ESPN 36: Jan Blachowicz vs Aleksander Rakic Best Bets, Odds, Predictions, and Sleepers

UFC on ESPN 36: Jan Blachowicz vs Aleksander Rakic Best Bets, Odds, Predictions, and Sleepers
Image © Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports
✍️ Written by
Frank Weber
🗓 Updated
May 19th 2023

We’re fresh off of one of the crazier main cards in recent history, and before we can even reminisce about last weekend's card we have to prepare for this new one. UFC on ESPN 36 is headlined by an incredible Light Heavyweight fight between former Light Heavyweight Champ Jan Blachowicz and #3 Ranked Light Heavyweight Aleksander Rakic. The fights leading up to the main event should be exciting in and of themselves, so all and all this will be an excellent way to spend your Saturday night.

The fights I think are MUST WATCH on Saturday night are:

  • Jan Blachowicz vs Aleksander Rakic
  • Ryan Spann vs Ion Cutelaba
  • Davey Grant vs Louis Smolka
  • Katlyn Chookagian vs Amanda Ribas
  • Michael Johnson vs Alan Patrick
  • Nick Maximov vs Andre Petroski

Considering there are only 11 fights on the entire card, six must-watch fights ain’t bad. But I’m not just here to tell you what fights to watch–I’m here to tell you which fights to BET on. So, I’ll be giving my three best bets for this weekend’s UFC card. I’ll be using the odds provided by BetMGM Sportsbook. If the BetMGM Sportsbook is not available in your area, you can check out the odds on these other premier sportsbooks in the country.

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Nick Maximov (-375) vs Andre Petroski (+280)

I’m getting you all involved immediately, as this is the first fight taking place on Saturday night’s card. In it we see two young fighters without much experience–but what they lack in experience, they make up for in skill. Petroski, a TUF alum, is 2-0 in the UFC, with one TKO and one Submission finish under his belt. Maximov, and Contender Series alum, is also 2-0 in the UFC, winning both of his fights via decision.

Maximov is a member of the Nick Diaz Academy, which shows when he gets on the ground. He’s got great BJJ and wrestling, but where his game lacks is on the feet. Petroski is also incredibly skilled on the ground and holds a heavy striking advantage over Maximov.

If you know me, you already can guess what I’m going to say–I think Vegas got this one all wrong. Petroski will beat Maximov in a dominating fashion and will start off the card with an upset.

Prediction: Petroski to win (+280)

Ion Cutelaba (-225) vs Ryan Spann (+185)

I’m addicted to underdogs. I can’t stop. Here we have another fight that I think Vegas is getting all wrong, as I think Ryan Spann holds an edge over Cutelaba in every aspect of the fight. The only place where it could be close is on the feet, but even there Spann has concrete for hands and a punchers chance.

If this fight goes to the ground., Spann should have no problems keeping it there. I expect this fight to end inside the distance, and Spann should have no problems getting the job done.

Prediction: Ryan Spann to win (+185)

MAIN EVENT: Jan Blachowicz (+160) vs Aleksander Rakic (-190)

Before Jan lost to Glover, we thought he could have given Jon Jones a chance. That’s how good Jan could get if he’s in form. He has some of the scariest power in the UFC and has wrestling good enough to win fights (i.e. the Adesanya fight).

Rakic is of course a formidable opponent, but he is someone that relies heavily on his striking–and striking with Jan is never a good idea. We’ve seen what Jan can do against strikers (Adesanya, Dominick Reyes, Corey Anderson, Luke Rockhold–the list goes on) so thinking this fight should go any differently would be foolish.

Prediction: Jan Blachowicz to Win (+160)

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