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The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first-ever trip to the Czech Republic at UFC Fight Night 145 in Prague will be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos on Saturday.
Blachowicz (23-7) is currently on a four-fight win streak with notable victories over Jared Cannonier, Jimi Manuwa and Nikita Krylov. This sees the Poland native ranked as the seventh-best light heavyweight in the world by Sherdog while he is also No. 4 in the UFC’s rankings.
His opponent in Santos (20-6) is also on a win streak with victories in his last three bouts, including two finishes in a row over Erik Anders and Manuwa since moving up from middleweight. In addition, “Marreta” has won seven of his last eight in the UFC and is currently ranked as the ninth-best 205-pounder in the world by Sherdog.
Santos is also No. 6 in the UFC’s light heavyweight rankings, though interestingly, he is ranked No. 9 in ESPN’s rankings while Blachowicz fails to make the top 10. Regardless, a win for either fighter could see them move up the rankings, though it remains to be seen if they will get a title shot afterward. However, a title eliminator is certainly not out of the question.
Highlighted on the main card is a women’s flyweight contest between Liz Carmouche and the Czech Republic’s own Lucie Pudilova. Carmouche (12-6) will be looking to build on her first UFC win at 125-pounds against Jennifer Maia last year and move up the ranks. The former women’s bantamweight title challenger is currently ranked as the fourth-best flyweight in the world by Sherdog, while ESPN and the UFC have her ranked No. 7 and No. 6 respectively.
Standing in her path for a second consecutive victory is divisional newcomer Pudilova (8-3) who will be making her flyweight debut after dropping a split-decision to Irene Aldana in their bantamweight contest at UFC 228. Pudilova arrives into the 125-pound division as the No. 14-ranked bantamweight in the promotional rankings.
Lastly, there is a bantamweight matchup between John Dodson and Petr Yan also taking place on the main card. Dodson (20-10) will be looking to get back in the win column after suffering a unanimous decision defeat to Jimmie Rivera back at UFC 228. “The Magician” has been alternating between victories and defeats and has not won two in a row since defeating John Moraga in 2014. Still, he is rated as the 10th-best bantamweight in the world by Sherdog and ESPN while he is No. 9 in the UFC rankings.
However, he won’t face an easy task in Yan (11-1), who is fresh off a TKO triumph over Douglas Silva de Andrade at UFC 232 and is a winner in all three of his UFC appearances so far. Although unranked by Sherdog and ESPN, the talented Russian is No. 14 in the UFC’s bantamweight rankings and a win over a former title challenger in Dodson would see him move up the ranks.