Jairzinho Rozenstruik hits Alistair Overeem

Jairzinho Rozenstruik is set to face Shamil Gaziev in the main event of UFC Fight Night 238 on Saturday, March 2, at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Rozenstruik, a heavyweight fighter from Suriname, has a professional MMA record of 13-5-0. Shamil Gaziev, hailing from Bahrain with Dagestani roots, holds an undefeated record of 12-0-0.

This matchup offers Rozenstruik an opportunity to climb back up the heavyweight rankings and for Gaziev to continue his ascent in the UFC by taking on a seasoned opponent.

As always, we’re here to break down this UFC main event and provide our expert analysis and predictions before Saturday night.

Betting Odds

  • Jairzinho Rozenstruik: +140 (BetUS)
  • Shamil Gaziev: -170 (BetUS)

Staff Predictions

Braeden Arbour

Shamil Gaziev vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik is a great fight between two people at very different stages in their careers. Gaziev, after fighting only once in the UFC, finds himself in the main event against a ranked opponent. He essentially has everything to gain and could find himself leap-frogging much of the division. On the other hand, Rozenstruik has floated amongst the elite heavyweights for years now finding mixed results, beating this next generation heavyweight cements and defends his place in the top 15.

Gaziev is very dangerous everywhere. He has fast hands and an ability to close distance very well. On top of this, he is particularly well-rounded for the heavyweight division, offering both problems on the feet and a high likelihood that he will be trying to take Rozenstruik down. He typically starts fast, with the majority of his wins coming by first-round stoppage. Pre-UFC, he demonstrated a very solid double-leg takedown, but he is also very good at taking his opponents down from the clinch. Expect him to come out and immediately pressure Rozenstruik with elbows and knees to get himself tied up on the fence and find his openings to drag Rozenstruik to the mat.

One area in which he will definitely be tested is his conditioning. Not only is this his second-ever UFC fight, but Gaziev’s first five-rounder. Even then he has only seen the final bell in a three round fight once, and evidently felt unfamiliar fatigue by the end of it. Rozenstruik, contrastingly has gone 25 minutes twice and has been in camp for five rounds on multiple more occasions. Against Allister Overeem, he proved he still carries enough energy into the fifth to KO his opponents late.

Rozenstruik has more than his fair share of first round wins, however often they come when his opponents rush into his power. Rozenstruik is actually a fairly patient fighter, which will serve him well managing his gas tank. It would be smart for him to drag Gaziev into deep water by making him work early. Even if Rozenstruik is caught defending more than attacking, and losing early rounds especially in terms of wrestling he can still find a win in making Gaziev work. The moment that Rozenstruik settles or accepts vulnerable positions is where he is in danger of being stopped before Gaziev tires.

The odds are a tough one here. There’s almost no doubt the fight will be stopped inside the timer however the oddsmakers have that at -1300. Gaziev will likely find a stoppage on the ground, and Rozenstruik if he can will be on the feet. It’s difficult to say whether Gaziev will elect to snatch a submission if Rozenstruik starts to fade or hammer away so it’s hard to be too specific however I do think that Gaziev will find a stoppage and come out the victor.

Pick: Shamil Gaziev to win (-170 at BetUS)

Michael Pounders

A newcomer in the UFC, Shamil Gaziev, is getting his first main event slot after only one fight in the UFC. The Bahraini product is likely getting fast-tracked due to his age – 34 – and the lack of depth in the heavyweight division. Gaziev has a perfect 12-0 record with 11 wins inside the distance, 10 of those inside 6 minutes.

Gaziev has big power, a piston of a right hand, a quick and devastating uppercut, and strong knees in the clinch. Typically, Gaziev is at his best near the cage, either with his back or his opponent’s back against the metal, where Gaziev can use his speed, power, and different angle striking to his advantage. Ultimately, Gaziev strikes like an elite bar brawler in tight quarters.

Gaziev’s x-factor, though, is his wrestling. We got a glimpse of his skill on the mat in his DWCS fight. Gaziev went 4 of 4 on takedowns en route to a submission finish. Much like his striking, Gaziev’s wrestling is most successful against the cage where he can use body lock and trip takedowns to get his opponent to the mat. Gaziev’s top pressure, though, isn’t the most reliable; he often lets opponents work back up to their feet.

However, because of his grip strength and ability to hold the body lock, Gaziev can often mat return an opponent who gets back to their feet. While Gaziev has most of his success in a phone booth, he struggles at range. He is slow footed, has basic movement, and his jab is his only real range weapon. More concerning, though, is his cardio. Gaziev has not proven an ability to fight at a UFC level beyond a few minutes; and, even in his last fight that he won, appeared to be gassing out near the end of the 1st round.

At his best, Rozenstruik is an athletic kickboxer just as capable of breaking an opponent down over the course of several minutes, even rounds, as he is as capable of landing the one-hitter-quitter in dramatic fashion.

The problem with “Bigi Boy’s” career, though, is we never really know if the best version of Rozenstruik will show up. In some fights, his speed and athleticism for his size is impressive and dangerous. Still, in other fights, he seems slow, overweight, and lethargic. Even still, in other fights, when he throws, he looks fast and dangerous, but has long bouts of inactivity despite consistent success.

In any case, predicting which Rozenstruik will show up is a lot like predicting the weather- you can do hours of research but sometimes you just get it wrong, and even when you get it right, it can change on a dime. In this fight, Rozenstruik will do well to be the counter striker who emphasizes the leg kicks, lateral movement, and attentive takedown defense we saw him implement in 2021 against Sakai.

This fight is likely going to make a lot of people look dumb. Gaziev could come out, put a pace on Rozenstruik early, and finish the slow starter inside of round 1. Also possible, Rozenstruik could come out like the guy who beat Daukaus and Sakai, showcase athletic footwork and speed as he traps the basic and linear Gaziev and catches him on the feet.

Still, it’s possible, that both men are unsuccessful- Gaziev unable to catch Rozenstruik and Rozenstruik unwilling to throw- and we get a 25-minute snooze fest with intermittent leg kicks and jabs. Gaziev is just too green and Rozenstruik just too inconsistent to confidently anticipate a certain outcome.

Therefore, I think we’re restricted to handicapping how this fight plays out on paper rather than guessing how it’ll look on the canvas. And, on paper, Rozenstruik should have the tools to beat Gaziev. Gaziev is slower and more basic on the feet and Rozenstruik has shown he can keep the fight standing against strength-based grapplers in the past.

It’s not a confident play, but I’ll side with experience and dynamism in the underdog on Saturday night. We just need the aggressive and intelligent Rozenstruik to show up, something that hasn’t been reliable throughout his whole career.

Best Bet: Rozenstruik to win (+140 at BetUS)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *