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UFC announces return to Columbus for March 26 card headlined by Jan Blachowicz vs. Aleksandar Rakic

Jan Blachowicz
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC is taking its Fight Night events back on the road this March.

The promotion announced Saturday that its upcoming March 26 card will take place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. A previously reported matchup between former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (28-9) and top contender Aleksandar Rakic (14-2) will headline the event.

This marks the first UFC non-pay-per-view event announced to take place outside of the UFC APEX in Las Vegas since a May 13 Fight Night at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The UFC was to return to Columbus in March of last year, but that card was cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Every non-PPV event since May 13 has taken place at either in Abu Dhabi or at the UFC APEX due to safety protocol and travel restrictions.

With last year’s visit cancelled, this will be the UFC’s first card in Columbus since UFC 96 in March 2009, a show headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Quinton Jackson and Keith Jardine. It will be the fourth show the UFC has held at Nationwide Arena.

Blachowicz — the No. 2 light heavyweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings — looks to rebound from a loss to Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 that cost him his UFC title. He takes on the No. 6-ranked Rakic, who has won two straight fights and holds a 6-1 record inside the octagon.

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