Originally published at UFC Fight Night Report: Jairzinho Rozenstruik knocks out Augusto Sakai
UFC Fight Night Report: Jairzinho Rozenstruik knocks out Augusto Sakai in Round 1
On Saturday evening, the UFC held a Fight Night event at the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. This fourteen-fight card was headlined by a bout in the heavyweight division between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai. Both men came into this fight following tough losses and were looking to rebound with highlight victories here. Just out of title contention, a big win could theoretically insert either of these fighters into the title picture at heavyweight. In the co-main event, Marcin Tybura faced Walt Harris in another fight between ranked heavyweights.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Brendan Fitzgerald, Dominick Cruz, and Michael Bisping. Performance of the Night bonuses went out to Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Marcin Tybura. Fight of the Night honors was awarded to Santiago Ponzinibbio and Miguel Baeza.
*Claudio Puelles def. Jordan Leavitt by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Sean Woodson def. Youssef Zalal by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
*Manon Fiorot def. Tabatha Ricci by TKO at 3:00 of Round 2
*Alan Patrick vs. Mason Jones resulted in a no-contest due to an eye poke at 2:14 of Round 2
*Kamuela Kirk def. Makwan Amirkhani by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Muslim Salikhov def. Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Ilir Latifi def. Tanner Boser by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-29)
*Montana De La Rosa def. Ariane Lipski by TKO at 4:27 of Round 2
*Gregory Rodrigues def. Dusko Todorovic by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Miguel Baeza by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Roman Dolidze def. Laureano Staropoli by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Marcin Tybura def. Walt Harris by TKO at 4:06 of Round 1
*Jairzinho Rozenstruik def. Augusto Sakai by KO at 4:59 of Round 1
CLAUDIO PUELLES (9-2, 155) VS JORDAN LEAVITT (8-0, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Puelles threw a snapping kick to the body to begin the fight and rolled out of a takedown attempt from Leavitt. Leavitt continued to attack the single leg but just couldn’t keep Puelles down for any prolonged period of time. Puelles started looking for a takedown of his own, ultimately getting Leavitt down in the center of the cage. They ended the round here, with Leavitt being the slightly more active fighter off of his back. 10-9 Leavitt.
The fight returned to the ground in the second round, and Puelles was able to take top position after Leavitt went for a heel hook. Puelles was able to control more of this round, and Leavitt was unable to scramble out from under him. With roughly a minute left, Puelles took the back of Leavitt, and he rode out the remainder of the round in this position. 19-19.
Puelles landed a combination to the body, and immediately took Leavitt back down. By this point in the fight, Leavitt didn’t seem to have much left in him, and Puelles easily controlled the first three and a half minutes of the round. They were eventually stood up for inactivity, but Puelles brought Leavitt right back down. 29-28 Puelles.
WINNER: Claudio Puelles by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was not the most exciting fight. After a close first round, Puelles took over the fight but was never incredibly active from top position, which resulted in a stand-up from north-south position late in the final round. Still, after not competing in 2020, this was a good win for Puelles, who is now 3-1 in the UFC.
SEAN WOODSON (7-1, 145) VS YOUSSEF ZALAL (10-4, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
After an even start to the fight on the feet, Zalal backed Woodson up, and shot for a takedown against the cage. Woodson defended the attempt and landed a sharp 1-2. Unfortunately, it was at this point Fight Pass crashed, and we didn’t return to the broadcast until the end of the first round.
Zalal seemed to be focused on closing the distance and securing a takedown, but Woodson was able to defend the majority of his attempts. Whenever they broke apart, Woodson was landing strong strikes, specifically his snapping jab. As the round wore on, Woodson was able to counter Zalal on the feet as Zalal moved in, and I thought he pulled away with this round late.
The commentators speculated that the fight was even on the scoring going into this final round. Woodson continued to defend Zalal’s takedown attempts in the third round, and despite largely being on the defensive, he landed the better strikes. Zalal was unable to get anything going for himself, and Woodson took this round on my (incomplete) scorecard.
WINNER: Sean Woodson by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Due to Fight Pass crashing for half of the first round, I could really only judge the fight based on the final two rounds, and I thought Woodson took both of them. Zalal was upset with the decision, but I just didn’t think he was successful enough with his offense (primarily his takedown attempts) to give him either of those rounds. Woodson is now 2-1 in the UFC.
MANON FIOROT (6-1, 125.5) VS TABATHA RICCI (5-0, 124.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Fiorot was very active with her kicks in the opening round. There was a drastic size advantage here in favor of Fiorot, and Ricci was having difficulties closing the distance. Ricci actually did a good job of avoiding Fiorot’s biggest shots, but she was largely unable to create her own offense and lost this round decisively.
Fiorot continued to have her way on the feet in the second round. She was really letting her hands go throughout this round, which resulted in her dropping Ricci with a right hook. Ricci attempted to pick herself up and recover, but Fiorot kept on her, and eventually, the fight was stopped as Ricci ate shot after shot against the cage.
WINNER: Manon Fiorot by TKO at 3:00 of Round 2
Ricci took this fight on short notice and looked completely outsized here. That takes nothing away from Fiorot’s performance, however, as she dominated this fight and picked up her sixth TKO win. Fiorot is now 2-0 in the UFC and is certainly someone to keep your eye on as she attempts to climb the division’s rankings.
ALAN PATRICK (15-3, 154.5) VS MASON JONES (10-1, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Jones defended Patrick’s first takedown attempt of the night but ate a huge spinning backfist moments later. Patrick was fighting wildly, putting one hundred percent into every unpredictable strike that he threw out there. As the round progressed, Jones began to fire back, and he wobbled Jones with a jab, before cutting him open with a follow-up. Jones took Patrick down and landed some powerful ground and pound in the final minute. 10-9 Jones.
Coming out of the first round, Patrick was looking beat up and exhausted. Jones was taking over this fight, but about two minutes into the round, he caught Patrick with an accidental eye poke. The doctor was brought in to check on Patrick, and Patrick told the doctor that he couldn’t see. As you would expect after a fighter says that they cannot see, the fight was stopped.
Result: No contest due to an accidental eye poke at 2:14 of Round 2
An unfortunate ending, especially for Jones, who had completely taken over this fight. Despite the ending of the fight, this was a very impressive performance from Jones, who felt as though he was perhaps moments away from a stoppage. Due to the no-contest, Jones’ UFC record now stands at 0-1 (1 NC), while Patrick’s promotional record is now 5-3 (1 NC).
MAKWAN AMIRKHANI (16-5, 146) VS KAMUELA KIRK (11-4, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Amirkhani was the aggressor throughout the round, looking to bring the fight to the ground. Kirk did a good job of defending Amirkhani’s attempts, but as the round progressed, Amirkhani was able to muscle Kirk down, throwing him to the ground. Kirk was able to pick himself up before time expired in the round but wasn’t able to get enough of his own offense in to win the round. 10-9 Amirkhani.
Kirk landed a number of beautiful right hands to the head and body in the opening minute of the second round. Kirk stuffed a takedown attempt, and they exchanged right hands. Amirkhani was successful on his next takedown attempt and began to rack up control time from Kirk’s guard. Kirk was able to trap Amirkhani in a triangle and looking to transition to an armbar. It was very close, but Amirkhani was able to escape the hold and ended the round on top. 19-19.
Amirkhani was able to bring the fight back to the ground quickly in this final round. Kirk did his best to stay active off of his back, but was unable to create the separation he needed. Late in the round, however, Kirk was able to transition into top position, and while he was unable to do much with it, ending the round on top always looks good to the judge. Regardless, I scored the fight 29-28 for Amirkhani.
WINNER: Kamuela Kirk by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
I scored the fight for Amirkhani, but I didn’t really have an issue with the judge’s decision here. It was a close fight, that was largely fought at a slow pace. Kirk took this fight on short notice, and Amirkhani is a solid name to be able to beat under those circumstances. This fight marked Kirk’s UFC debut.
FRANCISCO TRINALDO (26-7, 169.5) VS MUSLIM SALIKHOV (17-2, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Salikhov was firing off kicks to the body, and Trinaldo repeatedly flurried forward in response. Salikhov landed a looping right hook, as well as a head kick. Trinaldo appeared to be a bit more active with his hands, and his flurries were doing damage whenever he let loose. As Trinaldo pressured forward late in the round, Salikhov dropped Trinaldo hard with a pair of hooks, but Trinaldo was able to survive Salikhov’s ground and pound and made it out of the round. 10-9 Salikhov.
Trinaldo looked as though he had fully recovered going into the second round. The fight continued at a similar pace, and despite Salikhov seemingly having the power advantage, Trinaldo was doing good work with his combinations. Salikhov wobbled him with a right hook at one point, but Trinaldo just kept moving forward regardless. Despite Trinaldo’s pressure, Salikhov was able to outland him throughout the round with his counter shots, and I had him up 20-18 going into the final round.
A quick eye poke in the third round grounded Salikhov. The doctor was brought in, but Salikhov was able to continue and the fight resumed. Trinaldo came out firing, seemingly in pursuit of a much-needed finish. Salikhov had not slowed either, as he threw spinning head kicks and strong counters. Trinaldo landed a strong straight left in the final minute, but Salikhov did not allow him to capitalize, slamming him to the ground. 30-27 Salikhov.
WINNER: Muslim Salikhov by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Salikhov won every round of this fight, but Trinaldo was never out of this. Trinaldo looked fine at 170lbs, but there was certainly a size and strength advantage in favor of Salikhov here. Salikhov had the technical edge on the feet, and he capitalized on that with strong counters throughout the fifteen-minute fight. Salikhov is now on a five-fight win streak, after losing his UFC debut in 2017.
TANNER BOSER (19-7-1, 242) VS ILIR LATIFI (14-8, 1 NC, 240) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Latifi was able to take Boser down about ninety seconds into the fight. He racked up some control time here, but was unable to do much damage, or threaten any submissions. Boser ultimately powered back to his feet and landed a number of kicks to the body before time expired. 10-9 Boser.
Boser began the second round with a counter right hand as Latifi moved forwards. Latifi found some success with some counter-right hands of his own, but it felt as though he was falling behind on the scorecards. Out of nowhere, Boser landed a right hand and Latifi just collapsed against the cage. Boser followed him down with countless follow-up shots, but Herb Dean didn’t stop it, and Latifi was able to recover. They replayed the punch, and it appeared as though Latifi may have gone down from a thumb that grazed his eye, as opposed to the punch itself. Personally, I didn’t see it (even in the replay), but regardless, Boser won this round. 20-18 Boser.
Latifi was successful in bringing Boser down to begin the final round. He was able to control Boser for the entirety of the round this time, and after being in a lot of trouble in the second, this was a strong way to rebound. Still, he didn’t do enough damage to warrant a 10-8 in my eyes, so I scored the fight 29-28 for Boser.
WINNER: Ilir Latifi by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-29)
The second and third rounds were clear enough, so this one came down to how you scored the first. I gave the edge to Boser for his body kicks, but I can definitely see why two of the judges saw it for Latifi. This marked Latifi’s first win since 2018, and he is now 1-1 in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
The UFC announced that Tom Breese vs. Antonio Arroyo, which was scheduled for the main card, was canceled due to an undisclosed medical issue with Breese.
MONTANA DE LA ROSA (11-6-1, 126) VS ARIANE LIPSKI (13-6, 124.5) – FLYWEIGHT
The first half of the round was uneventful, with both fighters seemingly having some difficulties finding their range. Eventually, De La Rosa was able to take Lipski down and began to work from her guard in the middle of the cage. De La Rosa cut Lipski open with an elbow above her left eye, cementing the round in her favor. 10-9 De La Rosa.
De La Rosa did not waste any time in taking Lipski back to the ground. She moved into side control and opened up another cut on Lipski’s face. De La Rosa moved into top-mount and rained down the ground and pound shots until the fight was eventually stopped.
WINNER: Montana De La Rosa by TKO at 4:27 of Round 2
This was one of De La Rosa’s best performances of the past couple of years, dominating this fight once it went to the ground. Lipski took a beating, and I thought the fight was stopped at the right time after too many unanswered shots. With this win, Montana De La Rosa is now 5-2-1 in the UFC, and this marked her first career win by TKO.
DUSKO TODOROVIC (10-1, 186) VS GREGORY RODRIGUES (9-3, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Rodrigues took Todorovic down momentarily with a hip toss, but Todorovic popped right back up. Rodrigues began to work his jab and landed these powerful right hands as well. Todorovic just wasn’t making up ground, not doing the damage he needed to steal this round back. Not the wildest round, but a strong start for Rodrigues. 10-9 Rodrigues.
The right hand of Rodrigues continued to find its home. He took Todorovic down against the cage, but couldn’t keep him down for long. Rodrigues landed another strong right hand when they returned to their feet. Todorovic attempted to flurry forward but ate a sharp combination for his effort. 20-18 Rodrigues.
The fight continued at a similar pace in the final round. Rodrigues could not miss with his right hand, and while Todorovic landed a bit harder than he did throughout the first two rounds, Rodrigues continued to have the slight edge on the feet. I scored the fight 30-27 for Rodrigues.
WINNER: Gregory Rodrigues by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Rodrigues took this fight on short notice, his last fight was just two weeks ago in LFA. He made his UFC debut here and gave a good account of himself against a resilient opponent. His base is jiu-jitsu, but he showcased his striking here, and I’ll definitely be interested to see how he progresses at 185lbs.
SANTIAGO PONZINIBBIO (27-4, 170.5) VS MIGUEL BAEZA (10-0, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Baeza began the fight with a series of leg kicks. Ponzinibbio pressured forward but was repeatedly getting hit on his way in. Baeza continued to attack the lead leg of Ponzinibbio, and it looked as though that leg was compromised later in the round, as he was sort of slipping around in the cage. 10-9 Baeza.
Baeza’s kicks continued to be the story of the fight. When he wasn’t kicking the legs, he was kicking the body, and when Ponzinibbio dropped his hands, Baeza would begin to throw his right hand. He had Ponzinibbio wobbled at one point, but Ponzinibbio recovered and he began to go on the attack himself. Ponzinibbio was finding success by just blitzing forward, and putting Baeza on the back foot. Baeza was starting to get overwhelmed late in the round, and Ponzinibbio made this one very tough to score. 19-19 on my scorecard.
Ponzinibbio and Baeza were both landing strong shots in the opening minutes of the third round. The leg kicks had piled up for both men, and the fight became Ponzinibbio’s jab against Baeza’s right hook. There were so many momentum changes throughout the round, it was hard to keep up with at times, with neither man content to leave it to the judges. They began to just trade in the final minute, yet somehow, neither man went down, and this one went the distance. 29-28 Ponzinibbio.
WINNER: Santiago Ponzinibbio by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was an incredible fight. I have no idea how this one went to the judges, but both fighters displayed unreal toughness. It was a long road for Santiago Ponzinibbio to get back into the win column here, but he accomplished that here and was fired up following the decision. For Baeza, despite the loss, this was a performance that will keep his name in people’s minds, and he should be very proud of his efforts here against a fighter like Santiago Ponzinibbio. Ponzinibbio is now 10-3 in the UFC.
ROMAN DOLIDZE (8-1, 186) VS LAUREANO STAROPOLI (9-3, 185) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Staropoli was very active with his kicks in the opening minute. Dolidze decided that he had enough of those, and took Staropoli down. Staropoli picked himself up against the cage, but couldn’t create any separation, and Dolidze continued to smother him. Cruz and Bisping argued about whether Dolidze was fighting a smart fight or not, as the near entirety of the round was spent against the cage. 10-9 Dolidze.
Dolidze immediately took Staropoli back down to begin the second round. This time, Staropoli managed to create some separation, but slipped, and ate a pair of hard shots from Dolidze, before getting dragged right back down. Again, a rather uneventful round, but a clear 20-18 for Dolidze.
Unsurprisingly, this final round looked a lot like the previous two. Staropoli did a slightly better job of staying off of the fence but didn’t get much offense of his own off throughout the round. Dolidze landed a strong punch against the cage at one point, the most notable moment of the entire fight. Mercifully, the fight eventually ended. 30-27 Dolidze.
WINNER: Roman Dolidze by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Perhaps it was fitting that a fight of the year candidate was followed by a worst fight of the year candidate on this card. Staropoli just couldn’t escape Dolidze against the cage, and referee Keith Peterson never seemed interested in breaking them apart, despite the lack of activity. There isn’t much more to say regarding these fifteen minutes aside from the fact that the judges got the result right. Dolidze is now 3-1 in the UFC.
WALT HARRIS (13-9, 1 NC, 264) VS MARCIN TYBURA (21-6, 255.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Harris threw a wild head kick and caught Tybura with a spinning backfist that put Tybura on the retreat. Harris went on the attack and hurt Tybura badly with a series of right hands, but Tybura was able to relieve the pressure by shooting for a takedown. Harris was able to defend well initially, but Tybura was ultimately successful, as he began to work with half the round remaining. Tybura attempted to take his back, and Tybura postured up, throwing down numerous right hands. Harris had no answer from this position and eventually flattened out, as Tybura continued to rain down ground and pound. Soon enough, referee Mark Smith stepped in to stop the fight.
WINNER: Marcin Tybura by TKO at 4:06 of Round 1
Going into 2020, Tybura had lost four of his last five fights and didn’t seem far from getting cut. Since then, he has won five fights in a row, finished his last two opponents, and will be a top ten heavyweight when the rankings are updated. This has been a remarkable turnaround for Tybura, and he overcame adversity early in this one to get the finish later in the round. For Harris, this was another tough stoppage loss, and it’s clear he’ll have to make some changes in his game before getting back in there with the top of the division.
JAIRZINHO ROZENSTRUIK (11-2, 254.5) VS AUGUSTO SAKAI (15-2-1, 255.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Slow pace to begin this fight. Neither fighter was going forward, and it was anyone’s round with a minute to go. As time was winding down in the round, Rozenstruik pushed forward and landed a left hook, as well as a, follow up right hand that dropped Sakai hard, he followed it up with a brutal hammerfist, and the fight was stopped with a second remaining in the round.
WINNER: Jairzinho Rozenstruik by KO at 4:59 of Round 1
I’ll be the first to admit that four and a half minutes into this fight, I was absolutely dreading the next twenty minutes, but Rozenstruik pressed forward and landed a beautiful combination to end the night early. He has insane power in his hands, and when he lands clean, it’s going to knock most fighters out cold. This marked Rozenstruik’s eleventh career win by knockout, and he made it clear that he would like a top-five fighter in his post-fight interview. Out of those fighters, I think a fight against Curtis Blaydes would be the most sensible direction to go in at the moment.