UFC on ESPN 36 predictions: Can ex-champ Jan Blachowicz get back on track vs. Aleksandar Rakic?

·3 min read

Blachowicz
vs.
Rakic

Cutelaba
vs.
Spann

Grant
vs.
Smolka

Chookagian
vs.
Ribas

Camacho
vs.
Torres

Hadley
vs.
Nascimento

MMA Junkie readers’
consensus picks
79-38

blachowicz2022


Blachowicz
(56%)

spann2022


Spann
(53%)

grant2022


Grant
(80%)

ribas2022


Ribas
(52%)

torres2022


Torres
(73%)

hadley2022


Hadley
(81%)

Abbey Subhan
@kammakaze
78-40

blachowicz2022


Blachowicz

spann2022


Spann

grant2022


Grant

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

Ken Hathaway
@kenshathaway
77-41

trophy copy

2018 Champion

rakic2022


Rakic

spann2022


Spann

grant2022


Grant

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

Mike Bohn
@MikeBohn
76-42

trophy copy

2014 Champion

rakic2022


Rakic

spann2022


Spann

grant2022


Grant

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

Matt Erickson
@MMAjunkieMatt
76-42

rakic2022


Rakic

spann2022


Spann

grant2022


Grant

chookagian2022


Chookagian

camacho2022


Camacho

hadley2022


Hadley

Simon Samano
@SJSamano
75-43

rakic2022


Rakic

spann2022


Spann

smolka2022


Smolka

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

Matthew Wells
@MrMWells
74-44

blachowicz2022


Blachowicz

spann2022


Spann

grant2022


Grant

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

Nolan King
@mma_kings
74-44

rakic2022


Rakic

cutelaba2022


Cutelaba

smolka2022


Smolka

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

Brian Garcia
@thegoze
73-45

trophy copy

2017 Champion

rakic2022


Rakic

spann2022


Spann

grant2022


Grant

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

Farah Hannoun
@Farah_Hannoun
72-46

rakic2022


Rakic

cutelaba2022


Cutelaba

grant2022


Grant

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

George Garcia
@MMAjunkieGeorge
68-50

rakic2022


Rakic

spann2022


Spann

grant2022


Grant

chookagian2022


Chookagian

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

Danny Segura
@dannyseguratv
59-59

blachowicz2022


Blachowicz

spann2022


Spann

smolka2022


Smolka

ribas2022


Ribas

torres2022


Torres

hadley2022


Hadley

The UFC is back in its Las Vegas home base this week with a former champion at the top of the bill.

UFC on ESPN 36 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN2 and streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN2/ESPN+.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, former light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz (28-9 MMA, 11-6 UFC) takes on Aleksandar Rakic (14-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC). Rakic is a 2-1 favorite at Tipico Sportsbook; the comeback on Blachowicz is +150. Our 11 editors, writers, radio hosts and videographers are taking Rakic at a pretty high 8-3 clip.

In the co-feature, Ion Cutelaba (16-6-1 MMA, 5-5-1 UFC) meets Ryan Spann (19-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in another light heavyweight bout. Cutelaba is a -240 favorite, but it’s underdog Spann with a big 9-2 picks lead.

Also on the main card, Davey Grant (11-6 MMA, 4-5 UFC will go after his fifth straight post-fight bonus award when he takes on Louis Smolka (17-8 MMA, 8-8 UFC) at bantamweight. Grant is more than a 3-1 favorite and has a big 8-3 edge in the picks from our staff members.

Former women’s flyweight title challenger Katlyn Chookagian (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) will go after her fourth straight win when she meets Amanda Ribas (11-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC). Chookagian nearly is a 2-1 favorite and only one of our pickers is taking Ribas in an upset.

Frank Camacho (22-9 MMA, 2-5 UFC) returns after a hiatus of nearly two years to take on Manuel Torres (12-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at lightweight. Torres is a modest -130 favorite – the smallest favorite on the main card. But he’s a near-unanimous pick at 11-1.

And to open the main card, we have our only unanimous pick: -230 favorite Jake Hadley (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is an 11-0 pick against Allan Nascimento (18-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in their flyweight bout.

In the MMA Junkie reader consensus picks, Blachowicz (56 percent), Spann (53 percent), Grant (80 percent), Ribas (52 percent), Torres (73 percent) and Hadley (81 percent) are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

List

UFC on ESPN 36 commentary team, broadcast plans set: Dominick Cruz, Michael Bisping on call

List

UFC on ESPN 36 breakdown: Can ex-champ Jan Blachowicz upset Aleksandar Rakic?

List

UFC on ESPN 36 pre-event facts: Angela Hill first strawweight with 20 UFC fights

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