On Saturday night in Las Vegas, two heavyweights in need of a win will clash when Jairzinho Rozenstruik takes on Augusto Sakai in the main event of UFC Fight Night. A victory by either man keeps them on the fringe of the muddy heavyweight title picture.
Rozenstruik is one of the most feared strikers in the division, starting out his career with a perfect 10-0 record, nine of those wins coming by knockout. After knockouts of Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem, Rozenstruik was placed in the biggest fight of his career, facing Francis Ngannou with the winner immediately being in the mix for a title shot. Ngannou took just 20 seconds to knock out Rozenstruik.
A rebound win over former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos led to a fight with Ciryl Gane, which saw Rozenstruik again lose, this time looking ineffective in his striking as Gane methodically picked him apart.
Getting back in the mix in the division will require Rozenstruik to get through Sakai, who is coming off the first knockout loss of his career. Sakai punched his ticket to the UFC with a knockout win on Dana White's Contender Series, the victory improving him to 11-1-1, the lone loss coming by split decision in a Bellator clash with Cheick Kongo.
Sakai won his first four official UFC bouts, two by knockout and two by split decision, before being paired with Overeem. Sakai had early success, but Overeem switched gears, using wrestling to take Sakai down and pound away for a TKO stoppage.
A second consecutive loss for either man takes them out of the title picture entirely, while a win could open up major opportunities, especially in as volatile a division as heavyweight.
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This card also features another heavyweight contest in the co-main event when Marcin Tybura takes on Walt Harris. Tybura, 35, caught fire in 2020 with four straight wins. After two losses in 2019, Tybura reinvented himself a bit to start the year and picked up three straight decisions before scoring a knockout of Greg Hardy to close 2020. Harris, meanwhile, is coming off two straight TKO losses to Alexander Volkov and Alistair Overeem.
Here's the fight card for UFC Fight Night with the latest odds from William Hill Sportsbook.
UFC Fight Night card, odds
Jairzinho Rozenstruik -125
Augusto Sakai +105
Marcin Tybura -170
Walt Harris +145
Roman Dolidze -140
Laureano Staropoli +120
|Miguel Baeza -120||Santiago Ponzinibbio +100||Welterweight|
|Dusko Todorovic -140||Gregory Rodrigues +120||Middleweight|
|Tom Breese -260||Antonio Arroyo +210||Middleweight|
UFC Fight Night viewing information
Date: June 5 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: UFC Apex -- Las Vegas
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai: Four of Sakai's nine most recent fights ended in either a split decision or draw. That sort of inability to truly impose your will during a fight is something a high-level finisher like Rozenstruik will take advantage of as long as he is on his game. Sakai could catch Rozenstruik, or Rozenstruik could show an inability to get off as he did against Gane, but it feels unlikely if Sakai gets into back-and-forth firefights like he did against Overeem, or allows his opponent to dictate the pace, as he did when he took what is largely considered a bad decision over Arlovski. This should be a chance for Rozenstruik to put Sakai on the back foot and eventually score the finish as he is able to flurry. Pick: Jairzinho Rozenstruik via KO1