Tag: jairzinho rozenstruik

RESULTS | UFC 252 – Miocic seals status as the heavyweight GOAT

STIPE Miocic confirmed his status as the consensus UFC heavyweight GOAT, after edging Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision in their epic trilogy decider at UFC 252. The Ohio native (20-3), who fought in his seventh-straight UFC title bout now has four successful defences to his name, and improves his ledger against Cormier to 2-1.

Having battled Miocic three-consecutive times, ‘DC’ conceded that this may be the end of his legendary career, with another championship opportunity unlikely to present. Two of his three professional losses have come at the hands of Miocic, with the third part of the former double-champs’ other famous rivalry with Jon Jones.

The ‘and still’ champion was made to endure a raft of sneaky right-hand punches from Cormier throughout, but managed to remain upright through all of his adversary’s power while landing some heavy boxing combinations of his own. After being stunned at the end of Round 1, Miocic got his own back in the closing stages of Round 2, with a significant eye poke closing up Cormier’s left side in the third.

While Cormier looked to push the pace across the championship rounds, he was controlled well by the bigger man, Miocic in clinch engagements, which proved vital in nullifying the Olympian’s wrestling. Almost every five-minute period was as tight as they come, though Miocic’s diversity of strikes and control of position ultimately earned him the nod.

What’s next? It has to be number one contender, Francis Ngannou. Although, light heavyweight champion, Jones has also put his hat in the ring for a potential move up to heavyweight.

>> SCROLL FOR FULL RESULTS

Jairzinho Rozenstruik could also be back on track for a shot at the heavyweight strap, after dispatching of former champion, Junior dos Santos in Round 2. ‘Bigi Boy’ was patient and respectful in his approach, but only required one clean combination to change the course of the fight.

The Suriname native swarmed on his seasoned opponent after dropping him with an uppercut and right hook, allowing him no time to recover as the referee duly stepped in. That’s now three-straight losses for ‘JDS’, while Rozenstruik (11-1) gains redemption for his punishing defeat to Ngannou in May.

The co-main event produced another banger, albeit if one of the competitors seemed to come away seriously compromised. Sean O’Malley was transported to hospital after potentially re-aggravating an old leg injury, which saw him stumble a couple of times during his fateful fight with Marlon Vera.

A clear underdog coming into the bout, Vera required just under five minutes to get the job done via TKO, pouncing on his flailing opponent and ending the show with some brutal elbows from top position. It remains unknown as to what exactly caused O’Malley’s leg to fail, as he was seen rolling his right ankle in the early stages. Despite that, the Ecuadorian pointed to his checking of O’Malley’s low kicks when queried in the post-fight interview.

Daniel Pineda was another to impress on the main card, halting the hype train of Herbert Burns with a second-round TKO victory. After six years out of the UFC octagon, Pineda made good on his return with an impressive performance on the mat against a renowned grappler. He ended the bout with some punishing elbows from the crucifix position, having proven much more active from top position than Burns.

RESULTS

MAIN CARD:

Stipe Miocic [C] Daniel Cormier [1] | Decision (unanimous) 49-46, 49-46, 48-47
Marlon Vera def. Sean O’Malley [14] | TKO (elbows) 4:40 Rd 1
Jairzinho Rozenstruik [6] def. Junior dos Santos [5] | TKO (punches) 3:47 Rd 2
Daniel Pineda def. Herbert Burns | TKO (elbows) 4:37 Rd 2
Merab Dvalishvili [15] def. John Dodson [12] | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Vinc Pichel def. Jim Miller | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-27
Virna Jandiroba def. Felice Herrig [15] | Submission (armbar) 1:44 Rd 1
Daniel Chavez def. TJ Brown | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28
Livia Renata Souza def. Ashley Yoder | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 30-27

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD:

Chris Daukaus def. Parker Porter | TKO (punches and knee) 1:28 Rd 1
Kai Kamaka III def. Tony Kelley | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

 

Fallout: UFC 249 – Triple C peaces out, Gaethje banishes El Cucuy

FANS rejoiced when the UFC scheduled its return with UFC 249, and they were not disappointed as a stacked card headlined by a pair of intriguing title fights delivered on all its promise.

An empty VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida set the scene for Justin Gaethje‘s epic dismantling of Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight belt, Henry Cejudo‘s first and (likely) last bantamweight title defence, and a bunch of all-out wars in what was a phenomenal return to the world stage for mixed martial arts.

Check out all the results below including each scorecard, bout-ending sequence, and the expected fallout from a fun night of fights.

MAIN CARD:

Justin Gaethje [IC] def. Tony Ferguson | TKO (punches) | 3:39 Rd 5

Initial thoughts: Man, what a time to end an eight-year win streak.

A new UFC interim lightweight champion of the world was crowned as Gaethje pulled out the performance of his career to snap Ferguson’s previous promotion-wide record 12-fight winning run and clinch gold.

While the new champ delivered on all the violence his previous fights have us expecting, a more mature and focussed approach – aided by brilliant coach Trevor Wittman – enabled Gaethje to banish the ‘Boogeyman’.

Gaethje looked to be in control for most of the fight and in probability had all four rounds in the bag before the finish, but the most glaring warning of his opponent’s threats came as Ferguson landed a flush uppercut near the end of the second round to sit Gaethje on his rear.

But Gaethje would survive, cracking Ferguson with crisp punch combinations up top and landing punishing blows which would spell the end for any lesser a fighter. He never gave the cardio machine that is Ferguson rest, constantly chopping at his legs and doing enough in the end to finally bring about a stoppage.

Fight-ending sequence – A heavy left hand was the straw which finally broke the camel’s back, staggering Ferguson and yielding the finish as he retreated with Herb Dean taking a long look at the action. Good call.

What’s next? – A fight for the undisputed title is surely next for Gaethje, while Ferguson will have to earn his way back once again among a raft of killers at 155-pounds.

Henry Cejudo def. Dominick Cruz | TKO (knee and punches) | 4:58 Rd 2

Initial thoughts: Wait, is he actually serious?

Retiring on top is a difficult thing to both time and achieve, but that is exactly what Cejudo did after defeating the consensus greatest bantamweight of all time, Cruz in a bizarre co-main event.

The King of Cringe instantly vacated the title upon defending it for the first time, although skeptics believe it could well just be a ploy to squeeze more cash out of the UFC throughout contract negotiations.

Cejudo looked comfortable across the cage from another all-time great, though the two men engaged in a few oddly-timed exchanges within the 10 minutes, as the pace, feints, and level changes saw Cejudo cut open via an accidental headbutt in the second round. It fazed him little, as he finished the bout soon after to successfully defend his crown.

Fight-ending sequence – The bout is momentarily stopped as Cejudo is cut open by a headbutt, but he makes good of the remaining 20 seconds with a beautifully timed knee to meet Cruz’s level change, before putting enough pressure on to warrant the stoppage. Cruz didn’t like it, though – seemed like he was about to stand back up.

What’s next? – The 135-pound strap seems to be up for grabs, with Petr Yan a frontrunner to fill one of the title shot spots. Cruz was posed the question of retirement, but did not bite.

Francis Ngannou def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik | KO (punches) | 0:20 Rd 1

Initial thoughts: That Derrick Lewis fight feels a world away right now.

Ngannou made light work of up-and-coming Surinamese knockout artist, Rozenstruik, handing the previously undefeated contender a taste of his own medicine with a brutal 20-second knockout.

It served as Ngannou’s fourth-consecutive first round finish, with the win surely propelling him right back up into title contention. The man is scary, and Daniel Cormier‘s reaction on commentary tells you all you need to know about just how heavy the number two heavyweight hits.

Fight-ending sequence – Wild. Ngannou looked casual to start with, but absolutely threw the kitchen sink at Rozenstruik in a vicious flurry to peddle him back towards the cage and drop him with just one looping blow. A fire fight, truely.

What’s next? – Surely Ngannou takes no fight other than one for UFC gold, while Rozenstruik will be back in the future, possibly taking a similar route to the foe who downed him here.

Calvin Kattar def. Jeremy Stephens | TKO (elbows and punches) | 2:42 Rd 2

Initial thoughts: Kattar could be the real deal.

Kattar sounded a stern warning to the top five UFC featherweight with an impressive stoppage victory over promotional staple, Stephens. The two took no time at all to begin throwing leather – hard – in what was an entertaining bout while it lasted.

Stephens looked to have started the better of the two against the typically patient Kattar, chopping at his legs given the success previous opponents had in that area. But a booming straight right hand from Kattar late in the first round put the durable Stephens on notice.

Kattar’s crisp and powerful boxing combinations would shine through in the end, and the victor’s killer instinct left Stephens in a bad way upon the stoppage.

Fight-ending sequence – Blink and you missed it. Kattar landed a lightning-fast right elbow coming in to drop Stephens, and cut him up with another amid the ground-and-pound. Brutal and swift.

What’s next? – Kattar looks poised to make a splash among the top 10, while it seems Stephens will likely prove a gatekeeper once more.

Greg Hardy def. Yorgan de Castro | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

Initial thoughts: Yeah, still some room for improvement on both side.

Hardy returned to the winners list with unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated Cape Verdean prospect, de Castro over three rounds. The size difference was noticeable from the beginning, but it did little to stop de Castro rushing in to throw bombs early on.

de Castro took advantage of the openings afforded to him early on the feet, proving technically sound in his boxing whenever Hardy would get in range. Hardy’s lead leg was beat up, but a late flurry in the first round earned him the points according to the judges.

But Hardy would adjust accordingly, with some help from Cormier’s commentary analysis and a possible injury to de Castro, maintaining a greater distance and replying better with his own shots. de Castro’s production fell off a cliff despite his corner begging for activity.

We had it – 29-28 Hardy. A pretty straightforward one, with Hardy easily taking out the last two rounds with his activity. de Castro started well and aggressively, perhaps earning him first-round points.

What’s next? – Hardy will be eager to be thrown into the ringer with ranked fighters, but may not be there yet. de Castro is a step behind that, but could rack up some quick wins in no time.

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Anthony Pettis def. Donald Cerrone | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

Initial thoughts: Oh, they still got it.

He did it once and he did it again. Former lightweight champ Pettis got the better of fellow veteran and title challenger ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone for the second time in the octagon, earning a unanimous decision victory in their welterweight scrap.

Cerrone came out looking stern, but Pettis was having great success at a distance, closing it well while moving the better of the two. A jumping knee allowed Cerrone to put Pettis in side control, his best moment of the first round.

The dynamism of ‘Showtime’ up top continued to pose problems for Cerrone, with fleeting takedowns the latter’s best form of response. The two got friendly as old foes in a close fight, with Pettis edging it credit to his stand-up counter production and a cracking late shot.

We had it – 29-28 Pettis. Judges got it right, nice.

What’s next? – Pettis’ name alone should earn him another ranked fight at welterweight, while Cerrone’s next move is less clear given his status as a ranked lightweight, and four-consecutive defeats – a career first.

Aleksei Oleinik def. Fabricio Werdum | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 29-28

Initial thoughts: This was fun.

Oleinik took out arguably the biggest victory of his storied career in a split decision triumph over former heavyweight champion, Werdum. The Russian grappling extraordinaire looked in ripping shape, while the returning Werdum was a far cry from his championship shape.

Many pegged the Brazilian as the superior striker, but Oleinik came out throwing bombs from the off as the two submission specialists battled it out up top. The sambo practitioner’s work in the clinch was impressive early on, and his corner etiquette was… unique.

Werdum’s kicks and eventual work from top allowed him an avenue back into the fight as Oleinik tired on the back of his wild swinging punches. He managed to ride out a flurry of submission attempts from the BJJ master though, grinding to a solid win.

We had it – 29-28 Oleinik. Second round is perhaps the one in question, with the Russian’s end sticking in the mind to grant him the edge. First also goes to him, Werdum takes the third.

What’s next? – Time is running out for Werdum, though he was hardly dominated on his return. Oleinik will continue to circle the top 10 rankings.

Carla Esparza def. Michelle Waterson | Decision (split) 27-30, 29-28, 30-27

Initial thoughts: Never. Leave. It. In. The. Hands. Of. The. Judges.

Inaugural strawweight champ Esparza notched a second-consecutive split decision victory, getting the better of the scorecards in what was a largely uneventful three rounds of action.

While Esparza landed a couple of nice blows and a takedown in the first round feeling out period, many of her grappling advances and and striking flurries were countered well by Waterson, leaving her stunned as the scorecards were read out.

The third round yielded the most activity and most likely went Waterson’s way, but neither fighter arguably did enough to be feel totally wronged by the decision either way.

We had it – 29-28 Waterson. First round to Esparza, Waterson edges the third and takes the second. The 30-27s were bizarre.

What’s next? – Ezparza is on a good run back toward the top five, and deserves a high profile opponent. After consecutive defeats, Waterson may soon be thrown to the young prospects.

Vicente Luque def. Niko Price | TKO (doctor stoppage) | 3:37 Rd 3

Initial thoughts: NASTY. Way to set the bar for violence.

Luque served a reminder of his credentials as a ranked welterweight, outgunning a tough opponent in Price to nab a finish in just under three rounds.

The Brazilian often gets into wars, and this fight was no different as the two men brought the heat. Only a doctor’s stoppage could prevent Price from going on, with a nasty gash on the American’s right eye enough to spell his end.

Fight-ending sequence – A BEAUTIFUL left hook from Luque looped over the right hand of Price and landed flush onto his eye, sending him stumbling to the mat. Luque followed up to land a big hammer fist, but the action was broken as the two stood back up, with Price’s closed-up eye rendering him unable to continue.

What’s next? – For Luque, surely a ranked fighter. For Price, a rebound win is crucial to his chances of cracking the rankings.

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD:

Bryce Mitchell def. Charles Rosa | Decision (unanimous) 30-25, 30-25, 30-24

Initial thoughts: Get this man some camo shorts.

Ryan Spann def. Sam Alvey | Decision (split) 29-28, 28-29, 29-28

Initial thoughts: Sam might not be smilin’ any more.

Card preview – UFC 249: Ferguson vs. Gaethje

FROM Brooklyn New York, to a short-lived secret fight island, and its eventual home in Jacksonville Florida, UFC 249 is finally set to go down this weekend – albeit with an improvised starring cast. The long-awaited Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fight may have been scrapped for a fifth time, but fans are set to be treated to a barn-burning headliner as Justin Gaethje steps in for a shot at the interim lightweight title, capping off what is set to be the most stacked UFC event in some time. Combat will once again carry the sporting world on its shoulders with this 11-fight showcase, despite one of the scheduled athletes, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza testing positive for COVID-19. The show must go on.

Check out the full card below, as well as our predictions from top to bottom in our UFC 249 card preview.
Spoiler, there are no boring fights on this card.

MAIN CARD:

Lightweight [IT] | Tony Ferguson [1] v. Justin Gaethje [4]

The wait for a Khabib-Ferguson bout continues after the undisputed champ revealed he would not be able to leave his homeland amid the current global pandemic, but we get an absolute belter in the meantime as Gaethje squares off with El Cucuy for his first shot at UFC gold.

Many bouts have had all the promise of fight of the year contendership, but this is one which should truly deliver with the pair in question two of the most entertaining fighters on the roster, period. Ferguson’s endless weapons and unique flow meet Gaethje’s knockout power and perennial forward movement, making for an interesting clash of styles.

The former WSOF champion is most dangerous in the early stages and Ferguson has been known to get hit much more often in the early rounds, meaning the challenger will have to strike while the iron is hot. Ferguson cuts up his opponents as they wilt in the later rounds, which has hardly been the case for Gaethje in his fights, but he’ll want to get it done quickly nonetheless.

While Gaethje is deserving of recognition as one of the world’s best, fans would largely agree that Ferguson should be next in line for a shot at the undisputed throne given his UFC-record 12-fight winning run. It won’t be easy, though, with his submission game pending on Gaethje’s underrated grappling prowess. We still back El Cucuy.

Prediction: Ferguson via submission.

Bantamweight [T] | Henry Cejudo [C] v. Dominick Cruz

Legacy is on the line as Cejudo defends his bantamweight strap against former champion, and the greatest 135’er of all time, Cruz. The bout will stand as Cejudo’s first 135-pound title defence since capturing the vacant belt at UFC 238 against Marlon Moraes, while Cruz steps back into the octagon he once dominated for the first time since losing the belt to Cody Garbrandt in December, 2016.

Those who see this as a one-sided, hand-picked fight are mistaken, as Cruz’s credentials need no introduction, and the lay-off period clearly has not impacted him in the past. His unlikely title victory over TJ Dillashaw in January, 2016 should be all the proof anyone needs, it is just a question of whether the 35-year-old still has what it takes and if his body can hold up.

Cejudo will test every bit of it with his heavy hands and dominant wrestling as he looks to take out another legend of the game. Cruz’s movement makes him almost impossible to hit, though Garbrandt managed to of late, and he is a high-level wrestler himself. That means the champ’s key strengths will be answered to, but he has proven before that he is capable of working through adversity to come out on top, even against the seemingly unbeatable. The new age wins again here.

Prediction: Cejudo via decision.

Heavyweight | Francis Ngannou [2] v. Jairzinho Rozenstruik [6]

A match-up between two hard hitting heavyweights jerks the curtain for the main and co-main events, as Ngannou and Rozenstruik look to push their case for entering the championship frame. Both men have achieved the feat of knocking out legendary striker Alistair Overeem in brutal fashion, and come in off incredible win streaks.

In the red corner, Ngannou has won three-straight bouts via first round KO after suffering the only two consecutive defeats of his professional career, while Rozenstruik has left it a touch later in two of his four promotional finishes. The Surinamese contender sits at a formidable 10-0, a winning run which his opponent had also previously managed – albeit after a loss.

For that extra bit of experience both in the octagon and cage overall, it seems that Ngannou should have the edge in this one. But either man can win at any time with just one blow, it will just be about who lands it first, or better. We doubt there’ll be much grappling, but keep our fingers crossed to avoid a Ngannou-Lewis repeat.

Prediction: Ngannou via T/KO.

Catchweight (150.5) | Jeremy Stephens [7] v. Calvin Kattar [9]

Stephens may have missed weight for this would-be featherweight match-up, but fans should forgive the veteran given the circumstances. This ranked bout between two terrific stand-up combatants should be an instant fan-favourite, and is an underrated choice for fight of the night.

Neither man has been known to take a backwards step, and have earned their notoriety among the world’s best having brought it to some of the greatest contenders of the time. That being said, both men come in off losses, with Stephens’ 0-3-1 run in his last four bouts reading worse than Kattar’s 2-2. With the chance to challenge for top five status and latch onto some winning momentum, this one should bang.

Prediction: Kattar via T/KO.

Heavyweight | Greg Hardy v. Yorgan de Castro

Another highly-anticipated bout between two (massive) heavyweights with serious power opens the main card, as Hardy and de Castro look to crack the rankings. Somewhat still on a quest to fully win fans over, Hardy has nonetheless made waves every time he has fought, not afraid to take on more seasoned opponents. Scary as de Castro may be, the 6-0 fighter lays claim to one-less professional fight than Hardy, and the American also has the edge in terms of dealing with the promotion’s bright lights.

That may not help him when he meets de Castro though, with the Cape Verde native putting away four of his six opponents within the first round. Hardy has tasted defeat within the octagon, and that sometimes puts fighters in better stead should the deep waters arise. It is difficult to split the pair, but their raw talent should deliver a good show in a test of their true credentials.

Prediction: Hardy via T/KO.

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Welterweight | Anthony Pettis [15] v. Donald Cerrone [6 LW]

Two men who are no strangers to headlining shows this time spearhead the undercard, as Cerrone continues his welterweight dabble against Pettis. ‘Cowboy’ is of course coming in off his loss to Conor McGregor and two more before that, but there is no reason to doubt the promotion’s winningest fighter given he has faced the stiffest of competition.

Pettis has also had a difficult time of it of late, losing three of his last four bouts to similarly tough opposition while finding it hard to consistently find his form of old. ‘Showtime’ does boast a win over Cerrone though, back in 2013 via a body kick, so may look to test the veteran in a similar fashion given his susceptibility in that area.

Both men can win the fight in a multitude of ways, with terrific, crisp striking combining with their high-level grappling talent. Given Pettis’ recent loss via submission, Cerrone may look to exploit him on the mat, but every bout begins on the feet. If Cerrone can avoid Pettis’ power and respond in due course, it will be a tough night for the former champ.

Prediction: Cerrone via submission.

Heavyweight | Aleksei Oleinik [12] v. Fabricio Werdum

This bout between two veteran heavyweight grapplers and mixed martial artists is somewhat of a sleeper on the prelims, with former champion Werdum making his long-awaited return to competition against submission extraordinaire Oleinik.

Both men are 42 years old, but Oleinik’s 72-fight career is no mean feat, especially given someone as credentialed as Werdum only lays claim to 32 professional MMA bouts. There is no questioning the talent and experience of these two competitors, and it should prove a good test of just how ready the Brazilian is as Oleinik poses many threats on the ground.

But Werdum may look to gain the ascendancy on the feet despite his BJJ prowess, with an underrated striking game and some solid power behind him. This kind of step-up in competition has often proven one too far for Oleinik, and he will need to get the fight to the mat as quickly as possible to stand any chance. The two may cancel each other out on the ground, however.

Prediction: Werdum via decision.

W. Strawweight | Carla Esparza [7] v. Michelle Waterson [8]

The sole female fight on the card poises two strawweight contenders against each other in inaugural champion, Esparza, and women’s MMA staple, Waterson. The ‘Karate Hottie’ is a fan favourite, but fell short in her run to the 115-pound strap after going down to Joanna Jedrzejczyk last October.

Of course, it means both women have a loss to Joanna on their records, but can still lay claim to sharing the octagon with some fantastic fellow contenders. A revamped Esparza looks to be on the right track having lost her belt in 2015 and since embarked on a patchy run. Now an experienced member of the rankings, she will have to be at her best against an absolute OG of the game. Wrestling seems her most viable avenue, but Waterson is crafty on the ground and maintains distance well with her kicks.

Prediction: Waterson via decision.

Welterweight | Vicente Luque [13] v. Niko Price

This absolute gem of a fight, hidden at the bottom of the prelims is set to kick off a stacked card in style. Two of the most dynamic welterweights in Luque and Price face-off as they look to secure their status as ranked fighters, with the Brazilian currently locked in among the top 15. Price is not far off, especially after his vicious upkick victory over James Vick.

The enigmatic American has had just one of his 18 fights go to decision, and he has shown he can win the fight from just about anywhere. But Luque has already beaten his next opponent, in 2017, and possesses a slightly more consistent UFC record. His six-fight losing run was brought to an end by Stephen Thompson, and the top 10 kind of opponent has often tested him.

There are nine ‘of the night’ bonuses between the pair, and neither man will take a backwards step here. it should be another fun fight, and an interesting clash of unique styles. It could end in absolutely any way, so do not count out the fighter who may seem to be losing at any point.

Prediction: Luque via submission.

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD:

Featherweight | Bryce Mitchell v. Charles Rosa

One of the most highly-touted promotional up-and-comers in Mitchell faces one of the toughest tasks of his young career as he looks to take out an experienced foe on the early prelims. Rosa, a six-fight UFC veteran has competed against some solid names while returning three fight of the night performances. Mitchell has been similarly entertaining in his three-fight UFC career having pulled off a twister, and boasts an undefeated professional record at 12-0. It’s tough to split them, but it’s always great to see the new age shine.

Prediction: Mitchell via decision.

Light Heavyweight | Ryan Spann v. Sam Alvey

A fun light heavyweight bout is set to open the show altogether, as the unranked Spann and Alvey go toe-to-toe at the bottom of the card. Spann is undefeated since earning a UFC contract via the Contender Series, showing a great all-round game along the way. ‘Smiling Sam’ has long been a promotional staple, but comes in having lost his last three bouts despite his notable experience.

Prediction: Spann via T/KO.

Card recap – UFC on ESPN: Overeem vs. Rozenstruik

FIGHT fans were in for some fun with the latest UFC on ESPN instalment, headlined by an exciting heavyweight main event between two esteemed kickboxers – one a veteran, and the other a rising star. It was Suriname’s Jairzinho Rozenstruik who came up clutch with a vicious last-minute knockout, shortly after a more controversial bout at the same weight ended via similar method. Elsewhere, there were two draws across the main card, while Aspen Ladd returned to the winners list and Bryce Mitchell recorded just the second ever twister submission victory in the UFC. The fight night was also dedicated to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund.

NOTE: Round-by-round scores are our opinion, and not indicative of the actual scorecard.

UFC on ESPN: OVEREEM vs. ROZENSTRUIK

FIGHT OF THE NIGHT: Rob Font vs. Ricky Simon
PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT: Bryce Mitchell, Makhmud Muradov

MAIN CARD:

HEAVYWEIGHT | Jairzinho Rozenstruik [14] def. Alistair Overeem [6] | KO (Punch) 4:56 Rd 5

Down on all scorecards before a brutal fight-ending sequence, Rozenstruik showed why you should not blink during heavyweight bouts as he notched up the biggest win of his MMA career. Now 4-0 in the UFC, the Tuesday Night Contender Series alum has now picked off two former MMA world title holders, relying on his one-punch knockout power to do so this time around. While Rozenstruik called out Francis Ngannou for a fight which could produce fireworks, Overeem seems to have had his last tilt at the title and remains five short of 50 MMA wins.

Round-by-round:

Round 1 – 10-9 Overeem
After Rozenstruik opted against a glove-touch, Overeem came out looking focussed with his more measured approach, steering clear of Rozenstruik’s power while touching him with a couple of nice left hand strikes. With over three minutes on the clock, Overeem pounces and sticks a beautiful takedown from the clinch. They remain on the ground, Overeem on top in a sort of half-guard with Rozenstruik conserving energy from the bottom.

Round 2 – 10-9 Overeem (20-18)
Patient on the feet again from both men, but Overeem quickly gets Rozenstruik against the fence in the clinch. Referee Dan Miragliotta breaks it up after almost three minutes with only a few knees thrown among the jostle, with the fight continuing largely at range. Both men land a nice shot each – including another heavy left from Overeem – but look unfazed.

Round 3 – 10-9 Overeem (30-27)
Overeem’s corner ensure their man that Rozenstruik is gassing, but he comes out looking fresh and blocks a telegraphed double-leg entry to enact another clinch. A bit of back and forth on the feet follows and Overeem lands a big overhand left, following it up with another telegraphed level change. He manages to throw Rozenstruik to the ground again from against the cage, landing some nice ground-and-pound to finish.

Round 4 – 10-9 Rozenstruik (39-37)
Left hand continues to land for Overeem, but Rozenstruik looks to hit back with a nice barrage which pushes Overeem back against the cage. The Dutchman covers up as the two calmly disengage, with limited damage done. Rozenstruik gets his counter-strike game going, having a bit more success late-on in splitting Overeem’s guard, but he survives a couple of late flurries.

Round 5 –
Overeem’s coaches looking for him to set-up the takedown, touch and go. He looks to engage but nothing gives, meanwhile Rozenstruik looks more desperate for the big shot and backs Overeem up. The big shot comes, cue the stoppage.

Fight-ending sequence: A tired-looking Overeem backs up against the fence with 10 second left, prompting Rozenstruik to come at him with an accurate left, following with a massive overhand bomb to sit the Dutchman down. A walk off KO, madness with four seconds on the clock – shades of Lewis vs. Volkov.

CATCHWEIGHT (120.5 lbs) | Marina Rodriguez [9] drew w/ Cynthia Calvillo [10] | Majority Draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28)

Round-by-round:

Round 1 – 10-9 Rodriguez
A bit of a feeling-out process with Rodriguez the one to come forward in her traditional Muay Thai style, landing some aggressive hooks as the longer fighter. It prompts a takedown from Calvillo, but Rodriguez works back to the feet and hits hard on the break with knees, elbows and kicks. Finishes with a big head kick and heavy knees, but Calvillo survives and scores another takedown.

Round 2 – 10-9 Rodriguez (20-18)
Calvillo looking to pop and move more on the feet, coming in quickly as Rodriguez loads up. Calvillo’s corner asking for a level change, but she can’t get past the clinch and Rodriguez continues to damage to the body moving forward. Some great Muay Thai on show, vicious knees and kicks.

Round 3 – 10-8 Calvillo (28-28)

Calvillo’s corner asking for single-leg takedowns but she lands a double, looking to move into mount. She can’t get through but lands some nice elbows up top before grabbing a kimura grip and landing some more elbows to the body. She works around to get a body lock on Rodriguez’s back, striking and looking for the rear-naked choke. Calvillo goes close to finishing the fight with more ground and pound as she rolls into mount, but Rodriguez does an outstanding job to survive and get back to the feet. Understandable 10-8 for Calvillo, levelling the scorecards.

We had it: 28-28, like two of the judges. Rodriguez the better fighter in Rounds 1 and 2, but was almost finished in the last. Could have gone either way on the final round 10-8 call, but Calvillo’s dominance on top nabs her a draw.

HEAVYWEIGHT | Ben Rothwell def. Stefan Struve | TKO (Punches) 4:47 Rd 2

An unfortunate loss for Struve, who goes down in his first fight back after a short-lived retirement. He looked the better of the two fighters with his length and kicking game working well, while Rothwell looked to move in quickly, engage in grappling and land uppercuts from the clinch. Such was the difference in range, a low blow almost ended the fight in Round 1 as Struve slipped away from a Rothwell body kick. The Skyscraper fought on, landing a glancing low blow of his own before an almost identical blow to the first incident put Struve down again. Worse for wear, Rothwell’s uppercuts spelled the end as a dejected Struve could only cover up and wait for the finish.

Fight-ending sequence: A checked leg kick hurts Struve as he limps backwards with 25 seconds left, Rothwell follows and moves in with big overhands, eventually landing repeated uppercuts with Struve backed up against the cage. He drops, Miragliotta steps in.

W. BANTAMWEIGHT | Aspen Ladd [5] def. Yana Kunitskaya [7] | TKO (Punches) 0:33 Rd 3

Ladd returns to the winners list and looked great with some savage ground work and help from a corner rev-up at the end of Round 2. After Kunitskaya clinched well early, Ladd took the fight to the ground and landed some nice ground-and-pound. Engaging again, Ladd gets sucked into the clinch but eventually lands a more conventional takedown after a double-leg entry. The final round was short and sweet, with Ladd rushing to land a huge left hand which drops her opponent, following up well to get the finish.

Fight-ending sequence: Ladd comes right in off the line and sits Kunitskaya down with a left hand, getting her angles on top and eventually getting the finish with repeated blows from the back.

BANTAMWEIGHT | Cody Stamann [9] drew w/ Song Yadong [13] | Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

Song started off with some sharp combinations, touching Stamann without engaging long enough for the American to level-change. After inevitably being taken down in the first, Song was deducted a point for an illegal blow to the grounded Stamann as he controlled a guillotine choke, immediately broken up. To Stamann’s credit, he continued on but was arguably outdone in the next round, instead finishing well to take out the final round on all three judges’ scorecards.

We had it: 28-28, the same as two of the judges. Sal D’Amato gave Stamann the first round, but we think Song got the better of it despite being deducted a point – so, 9-9 there. Song backs up with the second and Stamman closes to win the third.

BANTAMWEIGHT | Rob Font [10] def. Ricky Simon | Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Font, the more established striker of the two, quickly took up a more aggressive position on the feet, backing Simon up as he pushed the pace. That was until he pulled off a surprise double-leg to really set the tone and intensity. Simon hung tough through some heavy shots and troubled Font with a left hand of his own, eventually nabbing a takedown in an even first round. Better taking his time, Font lent on his striking and started to land big with better distance management. It was much of the same in the third, with Font pulling off the unanimous win.

We had it: 29-28, Simon winning the first round, but Font getting the better of two and three with some big shots and improved takedown defence. Simon couldn’t keep Font down, but got him there plenty.

PRELIMINARY CARD:

WELTERWEIGHT | Tim Means def. Thiago Alves | Submission (Guillotine choke) 2:38 Rd 1

Fight-ending sequence: Means dropped Alves with a left hand and followed him down with ground-and-pound, eventually grabbing the guillotine as Alves covered up on his knees.

FEATHERWEIGHT | Billy Quarantillo def. Jacob Kilburn | Submission (Triangle choke) 3:18 Rd 2

Fight-ending sequence: Quarantillo went to work after an all-action round which he dominated, constantly pressuring for the submission. After transitioning from the back, he moved from an armbar to the eventual triangle to have Kilburn tap.

CATCHWEIGHT (148.5 lbs) | Bryce Mitchell def. Matt Sayles | Submission (Twister) 4:20 Rd 1

Fight-ending sequence: We know Mitchell can do some quirky things on the ground and his work to get a twister was just phenomenal. He had worked Sayles on the ground all round, and scooted to the back before getting to work on the twister.

LIGHTWEIGHT | Joe Solecki def. Matt Wiman | Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)

We had it: 30-26, pretty straight-forward one. Solecki came out firing in the first to, in our eyes, earn a 10-8, then easily getting the better of Rounds 2 and 3 to come out with the final score of 30-26.