MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN 7, a five-round heavyweight bout between top-15 contenders Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The event takes place on Saturday, December 7 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Alistair Overeem (-120)
Overeem (45-17, 1 NC) is one of the top heavyweight fighters in MMA history. The 39-year-old Dutchman is the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion and has fought and defeated some of the best in the world at heavyweight including Junior dos Santos, Brock Lesnar and Fabricio Werdum. But while he entered the UFC with incredible expectations in 2011, he hasn’t lived up to the hype. Overeem is just 10-6 overall in the Octagon, with seven wins by knockout but also six losses by knockout. As dangerous as Overeem is with his striking, his chin cannot handle a big blow at this point in his career. His 13 knockout losses pace any fighter in the UFC and that’s a scary thing to consider at this point of Overeem’s career. That being said, Overeem is still extremely dangerous in his own right. He possesses massive knockout power and his grappling skills are extremely underrated. But his inability to take a punch caps his ceiling in the UFC heavyweight division. He says his plan is to become the UFC heavyweight championship, so if he wants to accomplish that goal, he has to beat Rozenstruik and make a run for the title now as he’s not getting any younger.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+100)
Rozenstruik (9-0) is emerging as one of the top heavyweight title contenders in the UFC. The 31-year-old Suriname native made his UFC debut earlier this year and has already gone 3-0 with devastating knockout wins over Junior Albini, Allen Crowder, and in his last fight, a 29-second KO of former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. “Bigi Boy” comes from a striking background so it’s no surprise he packs a huge punch. He has special KO power in his fists and anytime he touches his opponent’s chin it’s lights out. However, as good as his striking skills have looked so far, there are still plenty of unknowns about Rozenstruik. We don’t know how strong his chin is. We don’t know how his cardio will hold up in the later rounds. And we don’t know how effective his wrestling is, both offensively and defensively. But this guy is a great athlete and if what we’ve seen so far from him is any indication, he seems to be a quick learner in MMA, and, dare I say, a natural at mixed martial arts. The heavyweight division always needs new prospects to emerge and the UFC looks like it may have struck gold with Rozenstruik. We’ll find out this weekend.
Fight Breakdown: This should be a fun fight to watch for as long as it goes, and I doubt that will be more than one round. Given the KO power of both guys and the fact that every fight starts standing, I don’t see this fight going very long. Rozenstruik has been crushing guys in seconds and Overeem’s chin is brittle at this point in his career, so I don’t see this one going to well for “The Reem.” I think Rozenstruik lands a heavy blow in the first minute or two of the fight and hurts Overeem, knocking him to the canvas and putting him out cold. The pick is Rozenstruik to win the fight via KO in the first round, and if that does indeed happen it might not be long until he gets his chance to fight for the title.
Prediction: Jairzinho Rozenstruik wins via KO