MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC Vegas 28, a five-round heavyweight bout between top-10 ranked title contenders Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai. The event takes place on Saturday, June 5 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-130)
Rozenstruik (11-2) is the No. 6 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 33-year-old Suriname native joined the UFC in 2019 and he has since posted a 5-2 record in the Octagon, with wins over Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski, Allen Crowder, and Junior Albini, with losses to Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou. Prior to joining the UFC, Rozenstruik was a high-level kickboxer and we have seen those skills throughout his run in the Octagon. All five of his UFC wins have come by knockout as we have seen Rozensturik having incredible striking technique and power. He does have some issues as far as his output goes and his takedown defense isn’t the greatest, but anytime he is able to keep his fights standing, he will always have a puncher’s chance to win.
Augusto Sakai (+110)
Sakai (15-2-1) is the No. 9 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 30-year-old Brazilian came to the UFC in 2018 and has since gone 4-1 in the Octagon, with wins over Blagoy Ivanov, Marcin Tybura, Andrei Arlovski, and Chase Sherman, with his lone Octagon loss coming to Alistair Overeem. Prior to joining the UFC, Sakai competed in Bellator, where he held a 4-1-1 record. Since joining the UFC, Sakai has proven himself to be a top-10 heavyweight and you have to wonder why Bellator didn’t want to keep him around as he’s proven himself to be quite a talent. Though the loss to Overeem showed that Sakai might not be a top-five talent just yet, with his size, strength, striking skills, and wrestling skills, he still has the abilities to make a run for the top of the UFC heavyweight division.
Fight Breakdown: Like most five-round heavyweight fights in the UFC, I don’t see this one going the full distance. Rozenstruik may have gone the distance against Gane, but this is a different fight against someone in Sakai who doesn’t have the cardio to go five strong rounds. It’s definitely an interesting fight and the odds are close because both Rozenstruk and Sakai have paths to victory in this fight. For Rozenstruik, he will be looking to keep this fight standing and land the KO blow. As for Sakai, he could either try and out-volume Rozenstruik or look for the KO, or he could search for takedowns and try to wrestle Rozenstruik instead. It’s an intriguing fight and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out, but ultimately I lean slightly towards Rozenstruik in this matchup. I do feel like he’s the much more technical striker with more power. In a fight that will likely be striking-based, Rozenstruik should have plenty of opportunities to land the KO, and I think he’ll get the job done as I think he’ll eventually catch Sakai on the chin and put him away for another highlight-reel knockout.
Prediction: Jairzinho Rozenstruik