Rozenstruik Still Has It as Gaziev Retires

March 4, 2024
3 months

Jairzinho Rozenstruik proved that he still has an active part to play in the UFC heavyweight division as he defeated Shamil Gaziev, handing the Bahraini representative his first-ever MMA loss. What happens next for the fighters, and what other results transpired on the card?

Heavyweight Top 10 Put on Notice

The heavyweight division in the UFC is crowded with many quality fighters. Jairzinho Rozenstruik sat outside of the top 10 before this fight, wanting to put himself back in title contention, having stumbled in recent years. The big Surinamese man landed powerful jabs and strikes on his opponent’s face, which made Gaziev bleed in the first round. From that point, he kept the pressure up.

Gaziev seemed to take the damage well, even if blood was streaming down his face by the end of the fourth round. However, between the fourth and fifth rounds, while conversing with his corner team and the UFC medical staff, it was apparent that he couldn’t see from one of his eyes. At this point, in addition to his excessive bleeding, he wasn’t allowed to fight, and Rozenstruik was named the winner.

Rozenstruik will ascend the rankings and be able to get a big fight soon. The cards could include Marcin Tybura, Derrick Lewis, or a re-match with Jailton Almeida. The future may be more turbulent for Gaziev. The Russian-born Bahraini fighter was testing the waters to see whether he could hang with the UFC elite heavyweight division; this fight would suggest he cannot do so and might be better off returning to Brave CF.

Petrino Completes Perfect 12 Months with UFC

Brazilians have come and gone in the UFC. Whether they’ve become the top draws for the company or been a mere flash in the pan. Few, however, have a 12-month debut tenure like Vitor Petrino. The man from Minas Gerais has fought four UFC fights in the space of 51 weeks and remained undefeated. Tyson Pedro forced him to all three rounds in the co-main here, but the fight was largely one-way traffic as Petrino picked up the unanimous decision victory.

What is next for Icão? Amazingly, he’s still not ranked, but that’s more of a reflection of the strength of the current light heavyweight roster in the UFC. The dream showdown would be an all-Brazilian title fight against Alex Pereira, but that fight will have to wait for the moment. Petrino deserves a ranked opponent next, whether that’s Dominick Reyes, Johnny Walker, or Dustin Jacoby; everyone interested in the division wants to see if Petrino has what it takes to hang in the higher echelons of the UFC and make MMA breaking news.

Mokaev Goes 11-0 with Win Against Former Championship Contender

Muhammad Mokaev is one of the fastest-rising British fighters, having gone 11-0 in his MMA career after knocking off Alex Perez on this card. Mokaev was born in the combat-rich Dagestan region of Russia, producing countless prize fighters in MMA. Yet he now calls Wigan, Greater Manchester, England, home.

Knocking off the #7 flyweight when already being the #8 contender only means the British fighter is on the up. Alexandre Pantoja, the champion, will most certainly be aware of this new challenger but might wait to deal with him. Mokaev will likely need to fight Kai Kara-France, Brandon Moreno, or Brandon Royval before getting a title shot. Alex Perez turned in another tired-looking performance; he’s 0-3 in his last three matches. He summed up what was a torrid night for the American fighters as all four Americans lost to their foreign combatants.

KO of the Year?! Oliveira’s Last Gasp Flying Knee

The prelims on this card delivered decent action for the fans, but nothing more exciting than the finish in the Vinicius Oliveira and Benardo Sopaj fight. The Brazilian and the Swedish fighters had more than earned each other’s respect after three rounds of spirited and well-contested fighting. While both men ran on empty at the end of the third round, Oliveira dug deep and found an extraordinary move for the occasion.

Sopaj had been knocked and rocked by a left hook, which sent him flying to the other side of the cage with less than 25 seconds left on the clock. Oliveira followed his opponent with great speed and vigor, knowing he could grasp victory. Launching a flying knee that ended the contest in the dying embers as Sopaj was knocked unconscious. While it’s only March 2024, some MMA news websites speculate this could be the year’s best knockout.

Klein Wants Pimblett…Soon!

Ľudovít Klein produced one of the best finishes of the night as the Slovakian brawler was able to stop AJ Cunningham in the first round of their prelim card fight. Klein said that from now on, he only wants to fight ranked lightweight fighters to put himself in that light and work toward a title fight. He did, however, state that given the Englishman’s popularity, he would jump at the chance if an opportunity arose to fight Paddy Pimblett (also not ranked in the lightweight standings right now). Now at 21-4-1 in his overall record, this would be an intriguing fight for him and Pimblett that would certainly move the needle on MMA news sites.

No Women on the Card

Unfortunately, this card featured no female fighters. The event was supposed to have Julia Polastri against Josefine Knutsson in a strawweight bout. Little detail or reasoning has been released, but during fight week, the 7-0 Swedish fighter pulled out, leaving UFC debutant Polastri with nobody to contend with. Polastri has, however, been booked for a fight later in the month against fellow Brazilian Stephanie Luciano.

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By Dean McHugh.