In December, UFC heads back to the nation’s capital for a stacked 7th edition of UFC on ESPN.
In the main event, we have a collision between two striking savants as legendary heavyweight, Alistair Overeem prepares to make his 64th professional appearance against surging knock out artist Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
Alistair Overeem (#4) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (#13)
With over 60 professional MMA bouts, 14 professional kickboxing bouts and several world championships on his mantel, Alistair Overeem is arguably the most decorated and accomplished heavyweights in the history of the sport. He carries wins over the likes of Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum (x2), Andrei Arlovski, Mark Hunt and a slew of other world class fighters.
His last loss was to the hands of Curtis Blaydes, the current #3 ranked heavyweight in the world and arguably the best wrestler in the division. Since then, Overeem has joined Team Elevation, Blaydes camp, to improve his game. Though “The Demolition Man” is in the twilight of his career, he remains one of the most lethal and dangerous fighters on the planet with ridiculous knees and devastating ground and pound that have left 40 opponents unable to continue the contest.
This bout is very risky for Overeem, though, as he is matching up with a very dangerous and relatively unknown fighter in Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
The Surinamese-born Rozenstruik is stepping in on two weeks notice after Walt Harris was forced to withdraw from the contest after the disappearance and recent death of his step daughter, Aniah Blanchard. “Bigi Boy” is very unknown to the casual eye and with only 9 professional MMA bouts, it would seem like Overeem is being fed a newcomer to build his stock. This, however, is not at all the case.
Though Rozenstruik only has 9 MMA bouts, he has over 80 professional kickboxing bouts with 64 of his 76 wins coming by knockout. He has displayed his incredible power with 8 knockout wins in MMA with three of them ending before the very first minute of the contest. Rozenstruik is fresh off of 29 second knockout win over Andrei Arlovksi and a win over Overeem could lead him to a title shot or even an explosive matchup with Francis Ngannou.
There are a few key items to point out in this contest before there can be a prediction. First a foremost, Overeem has been knocked out 13 times in his 17 losses and is 39 years old which could make for a short night for “The Reem” if he isn’t extremely careful.
Rozenstruik has one shot power and he can absolutely shut Overeem’s lights out. With that being said, Rozenstruik’s ground game is completely unknown and he has not fought a grappler with the credentials and ability of Alistair Overeem who holds 17 submission victories, though he has not had one since he submitted James Thompson over 10 years ago. Regardless, Overeem has used his grappling to end fights brutally against the likes of Stefan Struve and, most recently, Sergei Pavlovich.
With the move to the wrestling based Team Elevation, expect Overeem to have his eyes set on grappling his way to victory.
This is a very hard fight to call because both men can end the fight in a blink of an eye.
Overeem has been known to get knocked out by lesser opponents whether it come through his conditioning or by getting caught with a bomb. Rozenstruik is super dangerous, has been very active and has a lot of momentum coming into this fight which makes me question the outcome for Overeem. Putting your money on “Bigi Boy” is not a bad bet. In fact, 9 out of 10 times, I would probably agree with you. This, however, is that one instance where I disagree.
I believe Overeem will stay on the outside and use his fight IQ to eventually force the fight to the mat where Rozenstruik is not used to and certainly not to Overeems level. I believe this will be the first submission win inside the UFC for Overeem and the first defeat of Jairizinho Rozenstruik’s career.
I could be very wrong and Rozenstruik could blast Overeem’s head into the white house, but I lean towards “The Reem”.
Alistair Overeem def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik via Rear Naked Choke in Round 1.
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The Scrap’s Dreux Stamford is a recent graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelors degree in International Studies, an International Economics certificate from the Wrocław University of Economics, and is currently pursuing his Masters in Organizational Development. He was a member of the Men’s Track and Field team as an undergraduate and also holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, along with 15 years of experience in kickboxing. Follow him on Instagram (@Iam_Dreux).