MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC Vegas 20, a five-round heavyweight bout between Ciryl Gane and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The event takes place on Saturday, February 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ciryl Gane (-270)
Gane (7-0) is the No. 7 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old Frenchman has only been a professional MMA fighter since 2018 and is already a top-10 heavyweight in the UFC less than three years later. Since joining the world’s leading MMA promotion in 2019, Gane is already 4-0 with wins over Junior dos Santos, Don’Tale Mayes, Tanner Boser, and Raphael Pessoa. It’s fair to say Gane is a natural in this sport. He has solid striking skills, tremendous cardio, and — his best attribute in my opinion — has elite grappling skills for a big man. Gane has been very impressive so far in the UFC and a win over Rozenstruik would push him into the top-five at heavyweight.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+230)
Rozenstruik (11-1) is the No. 3 heavyweight in the UFC. The 32-year-old Suriname native joined the UFC in 2019 and so far he has gone 5-1 in the promotion with wins over Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski, Junior Albini, and Allen Crowder, with his lone loss coming against Francis Ngannou. A kickboxer by trade, Rozenstruik’s striking is his bread and butter. Out of his 11 wins, 10 of them have come by KO. He has a ton of power in his limbs and it shows with his brutal knockouts. But while Rozenstruik is talented on the feet, he doesn’t have much of a ground game, and that is a flaw that Gane may look to exploit in this matchup. If Rozenstruik can keep this fight on the feet he will have a chance to win by knockout, but he will have to stop the takedowns of Gane.
Fight Breakdown: Despite these two being heavyweights with a lot of power, I can see this turning into more of a strategy-based fight. Gane seems like a fighter with a very high fight IQ and I don’t see him being too willing to stand and bang with a power puncher like Rozenstruik despite his own kickboxing skills. It just seems like a much smarter gameplan to wrestle Rozenstruik and try to grind him out or submit him. I can see part of this fight taking place up against the cage as both men jockey for position. I do think that Rozenstruik is going to show solid takedown defense overall, but I can see Gane getting some timely takedowns to help him win rounds. On the ground, I believe Gane will be at a massive advantage. He can either go for submissions, land ground and pound, or grind on Rozenstruik and tire him out. If Gane takes this fight to the ground, I expect him to get the finish. However, if the fight stays standing, there is certainly some risk of being caught by a big Rozenstruik bomb. If the fight stays on the feet, it’s possible Gane could try and win on points instead. Overall, Gane is aggressive enough that my lean is towards him getting a finish in this fight.
Prediction: Ciryl Gane (via TKO)