UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai Preview

After a one week hiatus UFC returns, some heavyweight action is set to take centre stage at the UFC APEX in LAs Vegas. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-2) goes up against Augusto Sakai (15-2-1) in the main event. Walt Harris (13-9) and Marcin Tybura (21-9) will clash at heavyweight in the co-main event.

Both Rozenstruik and Sakai are coming into this main event having lost their previous fights, that will add some extra spice to this contest. Jairzinho was outclassed, and outstruck when he stepped in against Cyril Gane in his last outing. The former kickboxer turned MMA fighter will be look to get back into the win column when he takes on his Brazilian counterpart Augusto Sakai.

Sakai was beaten by UFC and MMA veteran Alistair Overeem last year, the Brazilian suffered his first knockout loss of his career when Overeem forced the ref to step in at round number five of their clash. Sakai will look to turn his fortunes around in a fight that sees both fighters compete in the main event for the second time in a row.

With 22 knockouts between both fighters, 11 a-piece, you would expect this fight to play out mainly on the feet. I expect this fight to be quite the slobberknocker, you would have to give Jairzinho the slight advantage in the striking department. I wouldn’t fully count out Sakai as he is deceivingly tricky on the feet and has the ability to switch his opponents lights off with his Muay Thai style of striking. A win for either fighter wouldn’t do much to help either out in relation to getting a title shot, but a win in this fight will open up an opportunity for a crack at the top-5 in the division. A fun fight overall.

Walt Harris is without a win in his last two fights having been knocked out by Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov respectively. He faces the task of halting a four fight win streak that his opponent has built up. Polish fighter Marcin Tybura has been on a tear in recent times, taking out the likes of Sergey Spivak, Maxim Grishin, Ben Rothwell and Greg Hardy in his last trip to the octagon. He will be looking to make it five on he bounce in the co-main event.

Georgian middleweight sensation Roman Dolidze (8-1) lost his undefeated record to Trevin Giles early this year. He squares off against Argentinian fighter Laureano Staropoli (9-3) who is on a two fight skid and is in desperate need of a win. Fellow Argentinian Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-4) is set to take on rising undefeated prospect Miguel Baeza (10-0), that fight has fireworks written all over it.

Duško Todorović (10-1) and Gregory Rodrigues (9-3) will duke it out in the 185-pound division. Serbian born Todorović lost in his last encounter, he will welcome Rodrigues into the UFC ranks with the Brazilian set to make his UFC debut. Opening up the main card is a fight between UK based Tom Breese (12-3), he is set to take on Antônio Arroyo who is in search of his first UFC win.

Montana De La Rosa (11-6-1) and Ariane Lipski (13-6) will face off the the preliminary card headliner in the women’s flyweight division. Both athletes will be keen to get their hands raised after losing their last bouts. Canadian heavyweight standout Tanner Boser (19-7-1) was defeated by future Hall of Famer Andrei Arlovski in his last outing. He takes on UFC veteran Ilir Latifi, Latifi has lost his last three fights in a row and you have to feel that this is a make or break scrap for the Swedish based fighter.

Francisco Trinaldo (26-7) will make the walk to the octagon for the twenty third time when he steps in against Muslim Salikhov (17-2). Salikhov is riding a four fight win streak while Trinaldo has not been defeated in his last three encounters in the welterweight division. “Mr. Finland”, Makwan Amirkhani (16-5) will take on Kamuela Kirk (11-4) who will make his UFC debut. Manon Fiorot (6-1) will battle it out with short notice replacement Tabatha Ricci (5-0) in the women’s flyweight division.

Former Cage Warriors lightweight and welterweight champion Mason Jones (10-1) steps into the octagon for the second time. The Welshman will lock horns with Alan Patrick (15-3) who fights out of Brazil. Sean Woodson (7-1) and Youssef Zalal (10-4) will go toe-to-toe in the featherweight division, I expect this fight to be very entertaining as both fighter are technically very sound and are not afraid to throw down. Getting the card kicked off is a scrap between Claudio Puelles (9-2) and undefeated prospect Jordan Leavitt (8-0). That fight happens in the lightweight division.

So there you have it. Overall this is a decent card with intriguing match-ups throughout the entire card. I’m excited for the Woodson/Zalal fight on the undercard. I’m eager go see how Mason Jones performs after losing to Mike Davis in his UFC debut, Patrick is no joke and the Cage Warriors double champion will have to be at the top of his game to get his hands raised. Ponzinibbio vs. Baeza will be a fun fight on the main card and the main event should mainly play out on the feet which will make that an exciting fight too. Lot’s to look forward to on this card, I hope you enjoy the fights.

Main card (BT Sports/ESPN+, 7pm ET)

Heavyweight: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai

Heavyweight: Walt Harris vs. Marcin Tybura

Middleweight: Roman Dolidze vs. Laureano Staropoli

Welterweight: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza

Middleweight: Duško Todorović vs. Gregory Rodrigues

Middleweight: Tom Breese vs. Antônio Arroy

Preliminary card (BT Sports/ESPN+, 4pm ET)

Women’s Flyweight: Montana De La Rosa vs. Ariane Lipski

Heavyweight: Tanner Boser vs. Ilir Latifi

Welterweight: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Muslim Salikhov

Featherweight: Makwan Amirkhani vs. Kamuela Kirk

Lightweight: Alan Patrick vs. Mason Jones

Women’s Flyweight: Manon Fiorot vs. Tabatha Ricci

Featherweight: Sean Woodson vs. Youssef Zalal

Lightweight: Claudio Puelles vs. Jordan Leavitt

Ian O'Neill is a Kilkenny man living in Canada. You can catch him on Twitter most of the time talking all things MMA. Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma.