Jairzinho Rozenstruik was confirmed 10-0 in December 2019 after Hail Mary knocked out Alistair Overeem. It seemed at the time that the accomplished kickboxer was on the brink of something great in mixed martial arts. Since then, Rozenstruik has had a minor catch, including a lackluster performance in his final fight. But “Bigi Boy” has the chance to get going again on Saturday in the main event of the UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas against Augusto Sakai.
ESPN put Rozenstruik in 7th place in the world rankings in the heavyweight division. Sakai, currently not ranked, wants to move into the upper echelons of the largest UFC division.
Rozenstruik (11-2) has lost his last two of three fights. Born in Surinam, he was unable to pull the trigger in a unanimous decision against Ciryl Gane in February. After a quick knockout loss to top candidate Francis Ngannou in May 2020, Rozenstruik recovered last August with a TKO from former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Rozenstruik, 33, has several kickboxing titles and is now looking for MMA gold in the future.
Sakai (15-2-1) is one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC heavyweight division. The native Brazilian, who is of Japanese descent, won four straight UFC wins before falling TKO to legend Alistair Overeem in the fifth round last December. Sakai, 30, has suffered just one defeat in his last seven fights.
In Saturday’s co-main event, Walt Harris meets Marcin Tybura in a heavyweights battle trying to find a way through the division. Harris (13-9, 1 NC) is attempting a streak of losses in two fights while Tybura (21-6) has won four straight wins and seems to really be gaining a foothold.
Also on the map are Santiago Ponzinibbio in an exciting battle between veterans and welterweight prospects to Miguel Baeza, Montana De La Rosa and Ariane Lipski clash in a crucial women’s flyweight encounter and Muslim Salikhov seeks to extend his streak of four bouts against the robust 42-year-old Francisco Trinaldo in an easy matchup.
See live fight-by-fight recaps from Brett Okamoto and Marc Raimondi or watch it on ESPN +.
Fight in progress: Welterweight: Francisco Trinaldo (26-7, 16-6 UFC, +200) vs. Muslim Salikhov (17-2, 4-1 UFC, -240)
Results: Men in featherweight: Kamuela Kirk (12-4, 1-0 UFC) def. Makwan Amirkhani (16-6, 6-4 UFC) by unanimous decision
The featherweight newcomer, Kirk, from Arizona, quickly earned an outstanding surprise in three rounds over Amirkhani.
Kirk accepted the £ 145 fight only a week ago when Amirkhani’s original opponent, Nate Landwher, was pushed off the map. As a former Contender Series contestant who did not get a contract in 2019, Kirk took the opportunity as all three judges saw the fight in his favor 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Amirkhani tried to lean on his wrestling to ensure victory and managed to beat Kirk in all three rounds. The effort required to do this might have gassed Amirkhani, however, as he seemed to move a little slower as the fight progressed and Kirk had great success trying to submit and reverse his position.
Kirk looked sharper on the feet too. He worked with low kicks on Amirkhani’s legs and landed some good punches to the body in the middle frame. He gave up a handful of takedowns by opting for guillotine chokes rather than fending off Amirkhani’s entries, but those takedowns didn’t end up costing him on the scorecards.
Kirk lost to UFC featherweight Billy Quarantillo two years ago in the Contender Series. Since then he has fought 2-1 for promotion to LFA. Amirkhani drops to 1-2 in his last three.
Check out this fight on ESPN +
Lightweight: Alan Patrick (15-3 1 NC, 5-3 UFC 1 NC) vs. Mason Jones (10-1 1 NC, 0-1 UFC 1 NC) leads to a no-contest due to eye poke
Stop by for an accidental eye @ MasonJones1995, referee Chris Tognoni explained the procedure.
– ESPN-MMA (@espnmma) June 5, 2021
An accidental eye bump looked like it had robbed Jones of a likely win as his easy bout against Patrick was classified as a no-contest.
Jones of Wales was looking for his first win at the Octagon, and he was on his way. He almost finished Patrick of Brazil with punches in the opening round, and Jones dominated the second frame as well.
In the middle of the round, however, Jones accidentally caught Patrick’s right eye with his outstretched fingers. Referee Chris Tognoni interrupted the action and it was quickly decided that Patrick could not continue when he told the ring doctor that he could no longer see out of the compromised eye.
It’s a disappointing result for 26-year-old Jones, who entered the promotion as a two-weight champion in the UK with high expectations. It’s been a rocky start as Jones lost to Mike Smith at the beginning of the unanimous decision and is now adding a no-contest to his brief UFC résumé.
Patrick, 37, looked dangerous early on, and caught Jason with one of his patented, unpredictable offenses. However, Jones came to an agreement during the course of the fight and seriously injured Patrick’s feet towards the end of the first round. He followed this sequence with his elbows on the floor and opened a gash near Patrick’s left eye.
Check out this fight on ESPN +.
Flyweight women: Manon Fiorot (7-1, 2-0 UFC) def. Tabatha Ricci (5-1, 0-1 UFC) from TKO
Fiorot, aka “The Beast from Nice (France),” dominated Ricci on her second UFC appearance – and likely caught the attention of the flyweight division.
Fiorot finished Ricci via TKO at 3:00 of the second round when she discharged a long combination of punches along the fence. The goal came shortly after Fiorot dropped Ricci with a running right hand.
It wasn’t an unexpected result as Fiorot was a considerable betting favorite. Ricci, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, entered the fight earlier this week after Fiorot’s original opponent Maryna Moroz withdrew. Ricci usually competes at 115 pounds instead of 125 pounds.
Fiorot took advantage of her economies of scale in the opening round, relying mostly on remote kicks while spying on Ricci. Before the second round, however, it was clear that Fiorot wanted a finish. She stayed right on Ricci from the opening bell, aggressively throwing her hands and even briefly looking for a takedown.
She is a contender
– Belal Muhammad (@ bullyb170) June 5, 2021
Fiorot has only been fighting professionally since 2018 but looked very capable at the 2-0 start in the UFC.
Check out this fight on ESPN +.
Men’s featherweight: Sean Woodson (8-1, 2-1 UFC) def. Youssef Zalal (10-5, 3-3 UFC) after a split decision
A feather-light fight between Woodson and Zalal looked competitive on paper, and it certainly played out that way, as it resulted in a split decision.
Two judges rated the competition 29-28 for Woodson, while a third scored the same for Zalal. Zalal from Morocco cast an annoyed look as the scores were read out.
According to UFC Stats, St. Louis Woodson landed 118 total hits, down from 46 for Zalal. He struggled to use his size and consistently gain an advantage in combat, but he was the far more active featherweight on his feet.
Zalal countered this with good inward and outward movement and a lot of control time on the fence and on the ground. He managed to beat Woodson in combat a few times and kept him there for some time, although he didn’t cause much offense.
For Zalal it is the third defeat in a row. Woodson, 28, improves to 2-1 in the UFC.
Check out this fight on ESPN +.
Lightweight: Claudio Puelles (11-2, 3-1 UFC) def. Jordan Leavitt (8-1, 1-1 UFC) by unanimous decision
In a fight between two easy prospects, it was Puelles who scored a little surprise over the favored Leavitt.
Puelles from Lima, Peru, defeated Leavitt unanimously, as all three judges rated 29:28 in his favor. The 25-year-old won the majority of the position fights and managed to push Leavitt back a couple of times in the second round.
It wasn’t the most exciting £ 155 affair, especially when compared to Leavitt’s final fight – a 22-second slam knockout from veteran Matt Wiman. This turned into a methodical grappling competition, with Leavitt occasionally threatening submissions, but collecting Puelle’s checkpoints at the top.
It improves his UFC record to 3-1 for Puelles, and he’s now won three in a row.
“I just need a few more fights and people will see that I’m a threat,” said Puelles. “I just need time to train and get better. Every time I get in there people will see my improvements. I will definitely be busy this year. It’s hard to stay relevant with just one fight a year I hope I can get two more this year. “
Leavitt, who lives and fights in Las Vegas, has fallen 1-1 since winning a UFC contract in the Contender Series.
Check out this fight on ESPN +
Still to come:
Heavyweight: Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-2, 5-2 UFC, -125) vs. Augusto Sakai (15-2-1, 4-1 UFC, +105)
Heavyweight: Walt Harris (13-9 1 NC, 6-8 1 NC UFC, +150) vs. Marcin Tybura (21-6, 8-5 UFC, -175)
Middleweight: Roman Dolidze (8-1, 2-1 UFC, -140) vs. Laureano Staropoli (9-3, 2-2 UFC, +120)
Welterweight: Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-4, 9-3 UFC, +100) vs. Miguel Baeza (10-0, 3-0 UFC, -120)
Middleweight: Dusko Todorovic (10-1, 1-1 UFC, -140) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (9-3, 0-0 UFC, +120)
Middleweight: Tom Breese (12-3, 5-3 UFC, -260) vs. Antonio Arroyo (9-4, 0-2 UFC, +210)
Women’s flyweight: Montana De La Rosa (11-6-1, 4-2-1 UFC, -280) vs. Ariane Lipski (13-6, 2-3 UFC, +230)
Heavyweight: Tanner Boser (19-7-1, 3-2 UFC, -170) vs. Ilir Latifi 15-8, 7-6 UFC, +145