Very little happened for nearly the entirety of the opening round in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai. But heavyweights — especially those with Rozenstruik’s heavy hands — only need one moment to change a fight. That’s exactly what happened when Rozenstruik connected with a left hand that set up a finishing flurry with just one second left in the first round.
Rozenstruik’s slow start may have stoked concerns that he was set to repeat his lackluster performance from his previous fight, a decision loss to Ciryl Gane in February. Sakai was able to circle around the outside of the Octagon for most of the first round, throwing heavy leg kicks and slipping backward, away from the powerful punches of Rozenstruik.
Sakai continued to circle to Rozenstruik’s left on the exit of any exchanges, leaving an opening for a left hook. That would be the shot that set up the finish as Rozenstruik rocked Sakai with a left hook before dropping him to the canvas with a right.
Once Sakai was on the ground, Rozenstruik pounced with a few more heavy shots to force the stoppage at the 4:59 mark of the round.
After starting his pro career 10-0, Rozenstruik has now traded losses and wins for four consecutive fights. Now 12-2, he has 11 knockout victories and immediately inserts himself back into the fringe of the heavyweight title picture.
That was the message Rozenstruik sent when asked who he wanted to face in his next fight.
“Right now, anybody that is ranked above me and makes sense,” Rozenstruik said. “Top five, I’m coming for you guys. I’m coming.”
After winning his first four UFC fights, Sakai is now on a two-fight losing skid. Prior to the knockout loss to Rozenstruik, Sakai suffered a TKO at the hands of Alistair Overeem this past September.