After a five-round defeat against Ciryl Gane this past February in which he was reluctant to pull the trigger, Jairzinho Rozenstruik returned to form at UFC Fight Night 189 on Saturday.
Though “Bigi Boi” was patient for most of the opening frame against Augusto Sakai in their heavyweight headliner, he was deadly when it mattered, flooring his foe with a two-punch combination and ending the fight with follow-up punches on the canvas with just one second remaining in the round.
“Actually, I heard the clock and [my coach] say, ‘Hey, this is the last 15 seconds,’” Rozenstruik said. “So I picked it up and pushed the pace and I see he was moving too fast and then ‘bop’ and I put him down.””
Rozenstruik took the center of cage from the outset of the bout and kept Sakai on his heels for the majority of their time in the Octagon. It was all part of the plan, according to the Surinamese heavyweight.
“I saw a couple fights of his and he doesn’t like to fight backwards,” Rozenstruik said. “So me chasing him was something new for him. He doesn’t like it.”
Rozenstruik has won six of his eight Octagon appearances — all via knockout — but he wasn’t proud of the effort he put forth against Gane at UFC Fight Night 186. The 33-year-old American Top Team product had been working diligently to rebound from that performance, and it showed at the UFC Apex on Saturday night.
“My last fight was terrible. It was my worst performance,” he said. “I’ve been working more on movement—boxing more and moving more. Tonight, it came out. Even the punch I rocked him with was a punch I’d been working one for three weeks. It came out and I’m happy.
“I was happy I could fight right away again. With a bad taste in your mouth when you lose a fight and get a chance to get right back at it, it was great. I’m proud of that.”
With that in mind, Rozenstruik would like to be similarly active in the coming months to maintain his momentum.
“This is going to put me right back on the map,” he said. “This is what people wanted to see. I’m going to look for a quick turnaround. In two or three months, whoever is ready—I’m here. I want to fight somebody that is above me. It's a short list, but I'm ready. I want to put myself back in title contention.”
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