Rozenstruik, Gaziev set for heavyweight showdown

mma26 February 2024 09:15| © Backpage TXT
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Jairzinho Rozenstruik © Gallo Images

Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Shamil Gaziev will have a heavyweight showdown in the main event of a UFC Fight Night at the APEX Facility in Las Vegas on the morning of Sunday 3 March 2024.

Rozenstruik (13-5) is looking to get back to form after suffering three losses from his last four trips to the Octagon, most recently suffering a first-round submission defeat at the hands of Jailton Almeida in May 2023.

The 35-year-old ‘Bigi Boy’ believes he is growing as an athlete despite his struggles to gain any winning momentum.

“As a fighter, I think I’m growing in my process and I’m happy in the spot that I am, with the people around me that are helping me; it’s all positive,” said the Surinamese.

“I definitely think everything is coming together. I’m understanding the game more, especially the ground game — it’s a different language and you’ve got to adapt to it. I feel more comfortable than before with my style.”

He added, “There are still some things where you think, ‘I want this better,’ but you can’t be perfect. You want to execute on the night of your fight, and then you go back to the drawing board and make things better.”

Gaziev (12-0) made an impressive UFC debut in December last year, scoring a second-round TKO win over Martin Buday at UFC 296.

The 34-year-old Russian was the first to stop Buday, but says this is nothing new for him: “He was not the first guy who had never been finished before facing me. I’ve finished guys with a tough chin [before]... he’s the third guy who’s stayed more than one round with me.”

He added, “I don’t think they [other heavyweights] are happy that I’m in their division now. We’ll see what happens when the UFC offers them a fight against me.”

The rest of the main card features a light heavyweight clash betweenVitor Petrino and Tyson Pedro as the co-main event; Alex Perez v Muhammad Mokae and Matt Schnell v Steve Erceg in the flyweight division; a middleweight match pitting Eryk Anders against Jamie Pickett; and a bantamweight bout featuring Umar Nurmagomedov and Bekzat Almakhan.

UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik v Gaziev – Main card

- Main event: Heavyweight: Jairzinho Rozenstruik v Shamil Gaziev

- Light heavyweight: Vitor Petrino v Tyson Pedro

- Flyweight: Alex Perez v Muhammad Mokaev

- Middleweight: Eryk Anders v Jamie Pickett

- Bantamweight: Umar Nurmagomedov v Bekzat Almakhan

- Flyweight: Matt Schnell v Steve Erceg