Jairzinho Rozenstruik put his name on the heavyweight map at UFC 244, where he scored a resounding 29-second knockout of ex-champ Andrei Arlovski at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
While Arlovski is far removed from his heyday — he’s won just three of 13 UFC bouts since 2016 — the Belarusian veteran is nonetheless the most significant triumph of Rozenstruik’s professional career to date. With the victory, the 31-year-old Suriname native improved to 9-0 and added “The Pit Bull” to a resume that also includes KO/TKO triumphs over Allen Crowder and Junior Albini in the Octagon.
“It was my biggest fight and definitely the biggest win of my career,” Rozenstruik said. “It means a lot to me. Of course if you have a win over Arlovski, who is a legend, it’s huge. I showed that I am at that level and I hope to one day accomplish all of the things he has done in his career.”
Rozenstruik figures to have plenty of opportunities to climb in a notoriously shallow division. Competing at a hallowed venue such as MSG is one step toward gaining some more recognition. His method of victory — a short left hook to the chin — figures to raise his profile even more.
“Fighting here at Madison Square Garden is my dream, I’m finally here, it feels like I’m in a movie,” Rozenstruik said. “I saw all of these things when I was a child and now I’m in here, I’m doing it and I did it. It was a moment for me, even when I was done and standing in there, I made it already. Now I got the win, and I feel even better.”
After such a short night’s work, Rozenstruik emerged from UFC 244 unscathed and is ready to take a short-notice fight before the conclusion of 2019. Rozenstruik expressed interest in facing Alistair Overeem at UFC on ESPN 7, which takes place in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 7. Overeem was recently left without an opponent after Walt Harris withdrew from the bout to continue the search for his missing stepdaughter.
“Now on to the next one,” Rozenstruik said. “For sure I want another one for this year. If it’s open for me, I’ll go in right away.”