Top Heavyweight Contenders Rozenstruik and Gane to Clash at UFC Vegas 20
Heavyweight contenders Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane will fight at UFC Vegas 20 this weekend.
Updated: Feb. 26, 2021 • 10:00 AM ET
Jairzinho Rozenstruik will be an underdog at UFC Vegas 20 this weekend.
A high-profile heavyweight clash will headline UFC Vegas 20 this Saturday, as No. 4 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik will fight No. 7 ranked Ciryl Gane at the Apex.
Rozenstruik (11-1, 5-1 in UFC) is coming off a second-round TKO of former champion Junior dos Santos in August, which was a big rebound after Francis Ngannou knocked him out in 20 seconds at UFC 249 last May. Despite the loss to Ngannou, the 32-year-old Rozenstruik could be one win away from entering the UFC title picture.
Including Dos Santos, the Surinamese fighter has victories over Alistair Overeem and former champion Andrei Arlovski. But despite having more experience than Gane, Rozenstruik will enter Saturday’s fight as the underdog. Rozenstruik, however, isn’t concerned with his underdog status.
“He has attention, that’s why this fight makes more sense,” Rozenstruik told MMA Fighting. “He’s the favorite. Everyone thinks he has a good chance against me, and now it’s my turn to prove them wrong and go in there and put him down. Do what I do.
“It doesn’t bother me in any kind of way. It’s fighting and everybody has their favorite fighters. Maybe they see something in him they didn’t see in me. Right now, I’m ready to show them why I’m the favorite and why I deserve to be at the top. It wasn’t given to me. I earned it, and I’m ready to keep my place and move forward up in the rankings until I get a shot at the title.”
Rozenstruik has made adjustments since suffering the bad loss to Ngannou, and he hopes to utilize them against Gane.
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“After the fight with Ngannou, we took a step back and worked on a lot of things that we used to work on, but we worked a little harder,” Rozenstruik said. “For me, it was more like maybe we should play a little more. I went to pressure him right away to create the fight right away, but maybe I should go a little easier, bounce a little bit, make him tired a little bit. You always have a plan, if it doesn’t go your way, you go back and hope next time it works.”
Gane (7-0, 4-0 in UFC) also defeated Dos Santos In his last fight by second-round TKO. In just a short time, the French fighter has become a legitimate threat to the title, and he’s enthusiastic about his first headlining of a UFC event.
“I’m really excited,” Gane said at a pre-fight press conference on Wednesday. “And you know what? To have my face on the poster, that’s really crazy. I’m really happy.”
The 30-year-old Gane is aware of his quick progression, but he believes he has made the necessary strides to defeat Rozenstruik.
“I have only three years in MMA,” Gane said. “Before that, I had only three years in muay Thai. Every time in my career, my step was like that: boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. You see, my last fight, (I got) Junior Dos Santos – boom. After Junior Dos Santos, (I got) No. 3 Jairzinho – boom. Every time in my career, it’s always like that. So no, I’m OK with that.”
The rest of the main card on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. EST
Light heavyweight bout - Nikita Krylov vs. Magomed Ankalaev
Women’s flyweight bout - Montana de la Rosa vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Bantamweight bout - Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera
Featherweight bout - Alex Caceres vs. Kevin Croom
Prelims on ESPN+ at 5 p.m. EST
Light heavyweight bout - Alexander Hernandez vs. Thiago Moises
Women’s strawweight bout - Angela Hill vs. Ashley Yoder
Welterweight bout - Alex Oliveira vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov
Women’s bantamweight bout - Alexis Davis vs. Sabina Mazo
Bantamweight bout - Vince Cachero vs. Ronnie Lawrence
Light heavyweight bout - Dustin Jacoby vs. Maxim Grishin