3 logical next opponents for Jairzinho Rozenstruik after his UFC Vegas 28 win

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (left) and Curtis Blaydes (right)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (left) and Curtis Blaydes (right)

Jairzinho Rozenstruik broke onto the UFC scene in a big way. 'Bigi Boy' had built a 6-0 record that included five knockouts before signing with MMA's biggest promotion. Four knockouts in his first four walks to the octagon established his name as a heavyweight contender.

But a brutal 20 second loss against Francis Ngannou last year handed Rozenstruik his first defeat in the sport and saw the Surinamese fighter on the receiving end of a knockout punch for a change. A TKO win over Junior dos Santos momentarily brought him back on track, but a decision loss to Ciryl Gane earlier this year halted his rise once more.

'Bigi Boy' had to win his next fight in a big way to raise his stock once again. Against Augusto Sakai on Saturday, he did exactly that...

UFC Vegas 28: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai

At UFC Vegas 28, Jairzinho Rozenstruik returned to winning ways with a brutal main event knockout against fellow contender Augusto Sakai. The finish happened right at the first-round buzzer. This isn't the first time we've seen 'Bigi Boy' leave it late in the round. He's certainly one you have to keep full focus on right until the end...

Having returned to the win column on Saturday, Rozenstruik will be looking to secure consecutive wins for the first time since 2019. With that said, here are three logical next opponents for Jairzinho Rozenstruik after his UFC Vegas 28 victory.


#3 Curtis Blaydes

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (left) and Curtis Blaydes (right)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (left) and Curtis Blaydes (right)

Curtis Blaydes has experienced a slight fall from grace. Despite only losing to Francis Ngannou in MMA before his loss to Derrick Lewis this year, even Blaydes' most recent win failed to impress.

After a debut defeat to 'The Predator' in 2016, 'Razor' won five of his next six fights, including wins over the likes of Aleksei Oleinik, Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. A second defeat to Ngannou prevented him from receiving a title shot. But after another winning streak, which included TKO wins over Shamil Abdurakhimov and former champion Junior dos Santos, he was back in contention.

But against Alexander Volkov in a main event last June, the 30-year-old received criticism, despite having his arm raised. His grappling-heavy approach, especially given his talk before the fight, left Dana White less than impressed.

Nevertheless, we all remember the destruction Blaydes can cause inside the octagon. I'm sure Alistair Overeem remembers it pretty vividly as well...

A meeting between Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik would be a colossal matchup. It would perhaps be an opportunity to see Rozenstruik's takedown defense and ability to withstand Blaydes' wrestling-heavy offense. Meanwhile, Blaydes would be facing one of the most powerful men in the division in his first octagon walk following a brutal knockout loss to Lewis. It would be interesting to see his approach to the bout.


#2 Alexander Volkov

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (left) and Alexander Volkov (right)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (left) and Alexander Volkov (right)

I'm aware Alexander Volkov is already booked to fight Ciryl Gane later this month, but win or lose, a fight between the Russian and Jairzinho Rozenstruik later in the year will make sense.

Across nine fights in the UFC, 'Drago' has established himself as a heavyweight contender and perhaps the most underrated name in the division. Wins against the likes of Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve and former champion Fabricio Werdum saw Volkov build a four-fight winning streak following his promotional debut. The Moscow-born giant has only two blemishes on his UFC record, both of which are defeats to two top five heavyweights in Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes.

Back-to-back second-round finishes against Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem have left Volkov with a matchup against third-ranked Gane and firmly in the title picture.

With Derrick Lewis set to challenge next for the heavyweight belt, the chance for Volkov to avenge that loss seems unlikely this year. Elsewhere above him is Blaydes but, given the way that fight went, Dana White and the matchmakers won't be rushing to organize that rematch. If Volkov is to beat Gane, options above him are limited, especially with Stipe Miocic in line for a championship match after the Ngannou vs. Lewis rematch.

For that reason, win or lose, a matchup with Jairzinho Rozenstruik almost seems inevitable at this point. It's also one of the more intriguing matchups towards the top of the rankings that we're yet to see. With Jairzinho Rozenstruik's power and Volkov's striking skill and tall frame, this fight could be a great watch.


#1 Marcin Tybura

Jairzinho Rozenstruik (left) and Marcin Tybura (right)
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (left) and Marcin Tybura (right)

It's perhaps rare to see two winners from the same card go on to face each other next. Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Marcin Tybura are a UFC Vegas 28 pairing that could go on to do just that. The main and co-main event winners made statements this past weekend.

Marcin Tybura put in a convincing and destructive performance in Saturday's co-main event. Against Walt Harris, the Polish behemoth survived an early onslaught from 'The Big Ticket' and recorded a second consecutive TKO finish. Having extended his UFC winning streak to five, a run which includes victories over Greg Hardy, Ben Rothwell and Maxim Grishin, the 35-year-old should find himself inside the heavyweight top 10 come the next set of ranking updates.

With Jairzinho Rozenstruik just outside the top five, a fight with Tybura makes sense in terms of the rankings and in the context of their careers. 'Bigi Boy' has been inconsistent since his win over Alistair Overeem, with defeats to Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane halting his rise.

But while his stock slipped, Tybura has strung wins together and climbed closer to the 33-year-old. While Jairzinho Rozenstruik could fight Curtis Blaydes, I think a matchup with 'Tybur' is more appropriate at this stage in his UFC career.


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Edited by Harvey Leonard
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