The bout between Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik will be one of the most interesting at UFC 266 this weekend. These two heavyweights have no option but to win and stay in the top echelon of this division. The one who ends up on the losing side in this event will undoubtedly be out of any combinations for some big event. Right now, Blaydes is fourth in the heavyweight rankings, and Rozenstruik sits two places lower. It’ll be do or die for both, which is why we’ve decided to write an article about this event.
Curtis Blaydes (-300) had an excellent run up until this February. Razor won four in a row, starting the streak against Justin Willis, the posting victories against Shamil Aburakhimov, Junior dos Santos, and finally Alexander Volkov. The latter provided him with the opportunity to challenge Derrick Lewis but experienced a terrible KO loss.
This wasn’t the first time Blaydes suffered a cold KO, as he already went twice on the mat against Francis Ngannou. The latter defeat to the predator was a vicious first-round KO in November 2018.
An excellent wrestler with very good cardio, Blaydes has notable wins in his career. Some of his victims were Aleksei Oleinik, Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, etc. He has a fantastic skillset for ground battle but is overall weak when it comes to eating a punch, and that cost him a lot throughout his career. All of Blaydes’ three losses were KOs.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+250) had mixed success recently. After opening the MMA career with 10 straight wins, all but one via KO, Bigi Boy lost twice in the previous four events. Though both those defeats came against the two top guys in the division, Ngannou, and Ciryl Gane.
After his terrible KO loss against Ngannou in a title-eliminator, Rozestruik bounced back against Junior dos Santos, beating the former champ via knockout. In his second chance to earn a shot at the title, Rozenstruik posted a decision loss to Gane, in one very boring and dull match, which showed that he still doesn’t have enough tactical experience to compete successfully against the big dogs. He would later get back in the winning column vs. Augusto Sakai with a first-round KO.
Rozenstruik has the punching power at the same level as Ngannou and Lewis. He is a solid kick-boxer and an average wrestler, but to be honest, he isn’t using this knowledge way too often. Moving around the octagon is a minus and will be in this event, but one clean shot might cover up all that.
Even though the bookies favor Blaydes, after seeing him against Lewis, we are not sure about his win at all. Furthermore, our pick for Saturday’s fight is Rozenstruik to win. First of all, he is faster than Lewis and is a better wrestler, so even if Blaydes finds a way to take him down, it won’t be that easy for the Razor to overpower him. Second, and the more important reason we predict Rozenstruik’s triumph is that his opponent has a weak chin that is often exposed. Bigi Boy won’t miss a chance to use that convenience.
Pick: Rozenstruik wins +250
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.