Another European Showcase

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Prague-Blachowicz vs SantosEurope has always been an interesting area for the UFC as they have always had a steady stream of European fighters but few have seen much success.

There have been champions but only three with Andrei Arlovski, Joanna Jędrzejczyk and currently Valentina Shevchenko counting as the only champions from the continent.

It has been a strange pattern for these fighters as they are from places in the world that love the sport and yet the success has been tough to find.

There have been big names and great fighters but it is not uncommon to see them rise just to run into a Brazilian or American fighter in their way.

As the UFC headed to Prague for their latest card they were looking to feature some of the newest Europeans trying to end that pattern.

There were plenty of potential stars with young fighters who are coming up and beginning to get noticed and other veterans making their 2019 debut.

It was a night to see what the European fighters had in store for this new year with one particular fighter getting his chance to break through.

That fighter was Jan Błachowicz who took the headliner spot closer to home with a chance to make a real impression in the Light Heavyweight division.

With a title fight only a week away this main event seemed like it was going to be a shot for someone to put their name in the conversation.

Of course, Jon Jones would need to win at UFC 235 to keep things moving in the division but for Błachowicz this was his chance to show that he belonged in the conversation.

As the #4 light heavyweight in the UFC, he needed an impressive win over Thiago Santos to make sure those in charge were paying attention.

A win would give him five straight and would make it hard to deny the Polish fighter a chance to earn the title.

It was going to be a chance for a fourth European fighter to get a title but first Błachowicz had to get the win over a tough opponent.

More often than not this is the point where the European fighter struggle as they gain momentum but fall off just before reaching the top of the heap.

Błachowicz was going to try to stop that pattern and take a big win but he was going to have a lot to handle.

Santos was himself looking to enter the conversation as a top ten fighter getting his shot to make an impression.

Santos brought in that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background but had been using his hands to finish more fights in recent years.

A move up to the light heavyweight division was letting him unleash the power in his hands to take two straight wins.

Błachowicz was going to try to out-wrestle Santos which was never going to be an easy thing with the BJJ background.mma-sidebar.fw

Błachowicz had shown his ground game in recent fights though winning two of his four most recent fights with submissions.

Neither fighter was going to have an easy time as they were set to be challenged and have to earn a potential title shot.

When the fight started neither looked to take things to the ground staying standing and duking it out to get those points.

Neither fighter could really pull ahead until the third round when Santos showed what type of power he has in his new weight class.

He landed a big combination that put Błachowicz down on the mat where Santos finished things off.

It was another disappointing end to a run by a European fighter as Błachowicz looked like he could truly challenge for the title soon.

That wasn’t the case though as Błachowicz now will look to rebuild that momentum and learn from the loss.

There is plenty more talent coming from the continent but one of the top contenders took a back seat to a Brazilian looking for his shot.

Santos might struggle to get a title shot right away but he is not far away from getting that shot at the title.

He has been impressive in his three fights in the division and that should be a sign that he is on his way.

Although there will be others in line before him he might only have one more win between him and the title, especially if he continues to win this way.

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