Just when everyone thought it was over, Jairzinho Rozenstruik preserved his perfect professional MMA record.
At 4:56 of the final round, Rozenstruik landed a massive right hand that demolished the face of Alistair Overeem, separating him from his consciousness in the process.
Just like that, the pride of Suriname launched himself into the heavyweight’s elite class.
“Don’t need too much,” Rozenstruik told Jon Anik after the fight. “One shot, one kill.”
And the heavyweight sniper already has a plan for what he wants next.
“I want to be back like March, April, and I really want to fight this big, scary guy Francis Ngannou,” Rozenstruik said. “So if you hear this right now, I hope you accept this fight. Man, let’s give those people a real show.”
Rozenstruik opted against a glove touch as the two met in the center to begin the bout. He addressed after the fight that he felt disrespected by Overeem’s words leading into the bout.
“I think Alistair make one big mistake, he [said] I’m not his level,” Rozenstruik said. “Man, that means you don’t respect what I do. I put a lot of work in this, train three, four months for the fight and then you say I’m not your level? Then I think you’re missing something.
Overeem made his gameplan clear when he grabbed the leg of Rozenstruik to try to take the knockout artist down. He failed to do so.
Overeem then initiated a clinch after both fighters feinted at range. This time, he succeeded.
Following the takedown, Overeem worked from top control, throwing elbows at the head of Rozenstruik from guard.
Rozenstruik briefly found an exit, but his escape was nullified by Overeem, who then got into side control. The opening round finished in that position as Overeem continued to use his short elbows until the horn sounded.
Rozenstruik opened round two looking to keep Overeem away with his jab and right straight. Overeem used a quick burst to initiate the clinch and get Rozenstruik’s back against the cage.
From there, Overeem stayed active with knees to the body. He wasn’t active enough, as referee Dan Miragliotta returned the fighters to the center of the Octagon with roughly two minutes to go.
Rozenstruik began to find his range and landed his most significant strike of the night to that point in the form of an overhand right. Overeem later returned fire with a hefty left hand that didn’t faze Rozenstruik despite landing directly on his chin.
Overeem again initiated the grappling exchange in round three with a takedown attempt that ultimately failed.
With just over a minute remaining in the round after a slow-paced, back-and-forth striking exchange, Overeem got his second takedown of the fight. He unleashed his right hand and right elbow from top control to finish off the third round.
— UFC (@ufc) December 8, 2019
Overeem opened the fourth with a straight left followed by a right hand that just missed the chin of Rozenstruik.
Overeem then shot once again, and the failed attempt led to Rozenstruik unleashing the longest combination of the fight. He teed off on Overeem momentarily, but Overeem’s shell allowed him to avoid any significant damage.
Rozenstruik would again unleash a short flurry after Overeem was caught off balance. He tried for a high kick and then followed with a combination of punches, but again, Overeem defended well in the difficult position.
Rozenstruik finished the round with a jumping knee followed by a left and right to the body.
After neglecting his grappling for a majority of round four, Overeem tried to get it going once again in the fifth but was largely unsuccessful.
Then, with just seconds left in the final round, Rozenstruik lands a left and followed with a bomb of a right hand that crumpled Overeem and ripped open the side of his face.
* N S F W *
— UFC (@ufc) December 8, 2019
“When you work hard, you can do those things,” Rozenstruik said.
Shane Connelly is a journalism student at Penn State with a passion for sharing the stories of MMA fighters.