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UFC Predictions: UFC Vegas 28: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai predictions

Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai headline this weekend's UFC card.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai headline this weekend's UFC card.
Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST

After a rare weekend off, the UFC is back at its APEX facility next Saturday for UFC Vegas 28: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai.

UFC Vegas 28 is a heavyweight-dominated card, with both the main event and co-main event featuring the UFC’s big men.

Overall, it lacks a bit of name value, but this should be an exciting and fun show to watch if things go to plan.

Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Vegas 28: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai.


#1 UFC Heavyweight division: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai

Jairzinho Rozenstruik has been a knockout artist since his UFC debut in 2019.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik has been a knockout artist since his UFC debut in 2019.

Both of these heavyweight contenders are coming off losses. But due to the fluid nature of the division, either man could become a title contender with a strong win here.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik’s UFC career, in general, has been a fascinating one.

Bigi Boy was just 6-0 in MMA when he entered the octagon for the first time in 2019, but he did have an extensive background in professional kickboxing.

And right away, we saw flashes of that as he put away his first three opponents by KO or TKO. Rozenstruik landed pinpoint-accurate strikes that didn’t even appear to be that heavy.

In fact, his KO’s of Allen Crowder and Andrei Arlovski were reminiscent of the kind of thing Mark Hunt would’ve produced in his prime.

A big and somewhat controversial, come-from-behind win over Alistair Overeem put him in title contention. However, 2020 went badly wrong when he was violently KO’d by Francis Ngannou.

Since then, Rozenstruik has KO’d former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos and recently lost a bit of a snoozer to Ciryl Gane in a more technical fight.

Essentially, if a fighter plays into Rozenstruik’s hands – gets too wild or too aggressive and comes forward recklessly – then he’ll probably knock them out in violent fashion with a shot that, at first, looks inconsequential.

But there’s also a clear path to defeating Bigi Boy. You either take Rozenstruik down, as Overeem did for most of their fight, or pick at him from the outside and keep things technical, as Gane did.

So can Augusto Sakai pull either game plan off?

The problem for the Brazilian here is likely to be on the feet. Sakai is a lumbering character in comparison to Rozenstruik, who is surprisingly fleet-footed.

Sakai’s UFC record is genuinely excellent – 4-1 with his only loss coming to Overeem. But all of the said wins came against slower opponents with the exception of Arlovski.

And Arlovski, for all his speed and explosiveness, doesn’t possess the sniping skills of Bigi Boy.

So the likelihood of Sakai being able to outstrike Rozenstruik standing, as Gane did, is somewhere between slim and none.

Could he land a KO shot? Possibly. Anything can happen in the UFC. But it’s not likely.

That leaves Sakai with the ground option. But to be honest, based on what we saw of Rozenstruik's ground game against Overeem, it’s hard to imagine Sakai taking Bigi Boy down and working him over for a decision.

Overall then, the style here seems to favor Rozenstruik, who will probably catch Sakai when he gets sloppy and land something nasty to put him away.

Nobody’s knocked Sakai out on the feet yet, but there’s a first time for everything.

The Pick: Rozenstruik via second-round KO

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Edited by Zaid Khan

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