Former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz will be welcoming Alex Pereira to the division at UFC 291. The event will go down on Saturday, July 29, 2023, in Salt Lake City, Utah, as the co-main event of the card.
The ex-middleweight kingpin announced his move up to the 205-pound division after losing his 185-pound belt to Israel Adesanya in their heated MMA rematch.
As of now, the fight does not have the light heavyweight belt on the line, even though one of the recent UFC advertisements on Facebook sparked the rumor that it is. The ad had listed Blachowicz ve. Pereira as a 'title fight', thereby leading fans to believe they'll be competing for the gold.
If not a title fight, the contest certainly is a title eliminator bout, if Blachowicz is to be believed.
He told Michael Bisping on the latter's podcast that even though UFC has not changed the status of the upcoming fight, a win would guarantee a title shot next. "I've got this in my contract," Blachowicz said, "If I win, next fight for the title.
What happened to Jamahal Hill?
When the Blachowicz vs. Pereira fight was announced, the UFC light heavyweight division still had a champion. Jamahal Hill held the belt after securing a decision win over Glover Teixeira at UFC 283 in January this year. However, some unfortunate turn of events has seemingly forced the champion to step away for some time, continuing the post-Jon Jones curse of the light heavyweight title.
Jamahal Hill is still listed as the light heavyweight champion on the official website of the UFC. But he has already revealed that he plans on vacating the belt. He took to his YouTube channel earlier in July to announce that he has badly ruptured his Achilles, which would require surgery and subsequent recovery, keeping him out for a while.
As for the belt, he said he would follow in his predecessor Jiri Prochazka's footsteps and give up the belt. "He [Prochazka] gave up the belt and allowed others to not hold the division up, to keep the division moving forward, to keep entertaining, to make sure the people had a champion. And I'll do the same," said Hill.