UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai Predictions
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai
Rozenstruik and Sakai both enjoyed a perfect start to their UFC careers, with each winning their first four fights in a row, but Rozenstruik has since lost two of his last three fights, leaving him ranked No.6 in the heavyweight division, while Sakai was TKO’d last time out, leaving him at No.9.
Rozenstruik brings a vast amount of professional kickboxing experience to the Octagon, but though he’s a proven heavy-hitter, the 33-year-old has actually become surprisingly gun-shy in recent times.
To an extent, not exerting himself unnecessarily and waiting for the right moment to counter-strike is part of his game, but he’s taken it to an extreme now where he’s just not letting his hands go.
Sakai is more of a pressure fighter and as such he’s going to be the more active of the two here offensively, but he’s not nearly as quick or as fleet of foot as his opponent.
I really don’t like what I saw from Rozenstruik last time out, so I’m very wary about picking him here, but he seems as frustrated with his lack of action recently as anybody else, so I expect him to be eager to make amends here.
I also feel he has the more dangerous weapons here and Sakai’s forward pressure will play into his counter-striking style, so I’ll take him to eventually find an opening to deliver a TKO finish in the third round here.
Prediction: Jairzinho Rozenstruik to win by TKO in Rd3 – Bet @ Sportsbet
Walt Harris vs. Marcin Tybura
Harris had a tough 2020 campaign at heavyweight, losing both of his fights by TKO, while Tybura was his polar-opposite, picking up four wins in a row during the same period.
However, Harris will take heart from the fact that from 2017-2019, Tybura actually lost four out of five fights, and that included losses via strikes against the likes of Augusto Sakai, Shamil Abdurakhimov and Derrick Lewis.
Harris has good boxing ability, can mix in knees and elbows into the equation, and has plenty of stopping power to test Tybura’s chin, although the downside is that his finishing threat tends to fade as the fight goes on.
Tybura is the more well-rounded fighter though and has considerably better energy reserves too. He’s willing to embrace the grind in the clinch and on the mat, which would seem to be a sensible strategy here to tire out Harris early in the fight, and I think that cwill lead him to securing a second round stoppage via ground-and-pound.
Prediction: Marcin Tybura to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet @ Sportsbet
Roman Dolidze vs. Laureano Staropoli
After suffering two losses in a row, Staropoli now finds himself being propelled into a short-notice fight with Dolidze, and is stepping up a weight class at the same time.
That seems a bit problematic as though he has some previous experience in the division, up until recently his opponent Dolidze was actually fighting at 205lbs, so in addition to having 1″ in height and 4.5″ inches in reach over Staropoli, he should also just be the bigger man overall.
Dolidze has power in his strikes and likes to throw spinning techniques into the mix, but his output isn’t particularly refined. Staropoli is a dynamic striker with good footwork who will be the busier of the two and also likes to go for flashy moves, but they can offer more style than substance at times.
Dolidze is also an accomplished grappler though and together with the fact that he’s going to be the bigger man in the Octagon I feel that’s going to be his key to victory here as he gets the better of staropoli on the mat to win by decision.
Prediction: Roman Dolidze to win by decision – Bet @ Sportsbet
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza
The 34-year-old Ponzinibbio returned to action after a two year layoff due to injuries back in January and promptly saw his seven-fight winning streak come to an end by KO against Li Jingliang.
Now he’s going up against an unranked but also undefeated opponent in the 28-year-old Baeza, who has amassed a perfect 10-0 record in his career to date, including three wins so far in the UFC.
So, there’s a lot of question marks about where Ponzinibbio is at this stage in his career, but while he certainly looked rusty last time out, what we do know is that in general he’s a very good striker who delivers high-volume offense with speed and power.
Baeza will have a 2″ height and 1″ reach advantage here and like Ponzinibbio he’s a proven fight-finisher on the feet who can match his output and will be eager to test whether the veteran’s speed and chin have indeed diminished.
This is a tough one to call. All the momentum is with Baeza right now, but it feels wrong to overlook Ponzinbbio’s more impressive resume just on the basis of one fight. We have seen Baeza hurt before against Matt Brown and Ponzibbio certainly has the firepower to trouble him, so I’m tentatively going to side with ‘The Argentinian Dagger’ to serve up a reminder that he’s still a major player at 170lbs via a second round TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Santiago Ponzinibbio to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet @ Sportsbet
Tom Breese vs. Antonio Arroyo
The UK’s Breese started off his UFC campaign with a sturdy three-fight winning streak, but he’s since spent the past few years alternating between wins and losses.
Now Breese goes up against Arroyo, who has yet to register a win in his first two Octagon outings, making this a must-win fight for him if he wants to ensure he keeps his spot on the roster.
Breese is a reasonably well-rounded fighter who can make an impact on the feet and has decent wrestling, but it’s his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that’s his strong suit and has accounted for a number of his wins, although it should also be noted that at times against other high-level grapplers he’s come off second best.
At first glance Arroyo may appear similar. In fact, physically they are identical in terms of height and reach, and like Breese, he’s picked up wins in almost even measures by either strikes and submission, while also having been tapped out himself a couple of times.
On the feet it’s Arroyo’s kicks that are his best weapon though, while on the mat he’s not really had much to offer in the UFC so far, and as such I do think that’s an area where Breese will have the edge.
In fact, I have to say that Breese just seems like the better fighter overall and I’ll take him to prove that over three rounds wherever the fight goes.
Prediction: Tom Breese to win by decision – Bet @ Sportsbet
Dusko Todorovic vs. Gregory Rodrigues
Todorovic was on a great run heading into his last fight against Punahale Soriano, having extended his career record to 10-0 after a successful UFC debut a few months earlier, but his hype train was derailed by way of a late first round TKO loss.
Meanwhile, Rodrigues was KO’d in his Contender Series debut last September, but to his credit he’s rebounded with back-to-back KO wins in the LFA promotion and now steps in on short notice to fight Todorovic only a couple of weeks after his latest victory.
Rodrigues will take heart from the fact that Todorovic showed real holes in his striking defence last time out, repeatedly eating a troubling amount of punches before being finished. As he’s shown in his last couple of fights, Rodrigues does have power in his own punches, although he’s also a significant by way of submission too.
No doubt the 27-year-old Todorovic will have been working on his defence since that last fight and there’s still a lot to like about the rest of his game as he’s well-rounded, is active offensively in a methodical manner and has good power.
I don’t like that Rodrigues barely had time to unwind from his last fight before being propelled into this one, and it’s never great having to do another weight cut so soon either. I also believe Todorovic still has a good amount of potential, so as long as he’s a bit more diligent about his defence this time out, I’ll take him to get the better of this fight and emerge with a second round TKO stoppage win.
Prediction: Dusko Todorovic to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet @ Sportsbet
UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Kamuela Kirk
Tanner Boser vs. Ilir Latifi
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Muslim Salikhov
Alan Patrick vs. Mason Jones
Montana De La Rosa vs. Ariane Lipski
Manon Fiorot vs. Maryna Moroz
Sean Woodson vs. Youssef Zalal
Claudio Puelles vs. Jordan Leavitt
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process. You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.