UFC Fight Night takes us to Washington D.C this Sunday morning, with another heavyweight headliner that should make you want to grab your popcorn. Veteran Alistair Overeem takes on the unbeaten Jairzinho “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik, in a clash that will serve up a huge knockout. The 14th ranked heavyweight has knocked out two of his last three opponents in the first round, with Rozenstruik displaying unbelievable power in his jab against another veteran, in the form of Andrei Arlovski. The 31-year-old also holds the record for the second-fastest knockout in the heavyweight division, which came 9 seconds into his bout against Allen Crowder.
With Overeem losing to tough opponents such as Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes, his latest win against Aleksei Oleinik, isn’t one that served up much competition. Alistair’s only way to win this matchup is to take the game to the ground, as Rozenstruik’s grappling hasn’t been tested due to his dominating victories.
I don’t see this going the distance, as Overeem will not be able to withstand the power behind the Surinamese’s punches. This could end in the first round or second but either way, “Bigi Boy” is moving on to a 10-0 record.
The Co-main event sees Cynthia Calvillo square off against Marina Rodriguez, in a female strawweight bout that is too close to call. With that being said, I’m backing the American Calvillo, who is a slight underdog at 11/10 with Bet365. I believe she can tarnish the unbeaten record that the Brazilian Rodriguez holds, with a submission. Calvillo has won a third of her fights via submission and it’s no surprise, due to her wrestling and muay thai style posing a threat to any opponent that steps in the octagon with her.
Stefan Struve takes on Ben Rothwell in another heavyweight affair, with the two fighters having contrasting styles. The Dutchman is the tallest fighter in the history of the UFC, however, Struve prefers to take his fights to the ground where 55% of his wins have come via submission. The American Rothwell possesses an angry demeanor, where he likes to walk down his opponents and fire off combinations early. This method has resulted in 75% of his wins coming via KO/TKO and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was to boost that percentage come Sunday morning. Despite announcing his retirement 9 months ago after his submission win over Marcos Rogerio de Lima, Struve is entering the Octagon again but looks likely to be on the wrong side of a decision this time out.
The main card kicks off with two bantamweight bouts, both male and female contests. Aspen Ladd looks to make it 9 wins out of 9 against Yana Kunitskaya, who will prove to be a tough opponent for the American. This matchup could go either way with both women preferring to keep the fight on their feet. With the flip of a coin toss, I’ve gone with the Russian, who despite proved no match for champion Cris Cyborg last year, is coming off the back of two decision wins that put Kunitskaya back in the rumour mill for a title shot if she is to come out on top against Ladd.
The other bantamweight contest serves up another close call, where Cody Stamann takes on “Kung Fu Monkey” Song Yadong. The Chinese prospect is another underdog I’m going for, as he has proven to produce finishes of all varieties, making it tricky for his opponents to figure out what game plan he is undertaking. The American however, provides finishes of similar fashion too. A draw in this matchup is a big possibility, but for three rounds we are going to be treated to a good, tactical and entertaining fight.
Five-Fold with Bet365:
Song – 8/15
Kunitskaya – 13/10
Rothwell – 8/11
Calvillo – 11/10
Rozenstruik – 1/1
£5 stake returns £127.92
Sport Journalism Graduate – Birmingham based content writer bringing you insights on all things sport.