In a recent interview, Junior dos Santos acknowledged that this match probably won’t go the distance given the punching power of both fighters.
It isn’t quite like looking in a mirror, but Junior dos Santos still has a feeling of familiarity as “Cigano” prepares to resume his UFC heavyweight title quest vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik on Saturday’s UFC 252 card in Las Vegas. UFC odds give “Bigi Boy” a slight edge in this one, listing him at -135 compared with dos Santos at +105.
Junior dos Santos UFC 252 Odds
It might be folly for dos Santos to suggest that it would only take “two wins” for him to be given another championship opportunity, but a victory over his gym-mate Rozenstruik would certainly go a long way. The 36-year-old Brazilian carries a 15-7 UFC mark into Saturday’s bout, but is coming off back-to-back knockout defeats at the hands of Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes and hasn’t tasted victory since stopping Derrick Lewis back on March 9, 2019.
In a recent interview, dos Santos acknowledged that this match probably won’t go the distance given the punching power of both fighters. And dos Santos knows a thing or two about landing big blows: he leads all UFC heavyweights in career knockdowns with 14, and his 10 total KO/TKO wins are second all-time in his weight class. But his 48 percent career significant strike rate is well back of the all-time leaders, and that could be a big problem this weekend.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik UFC 252 Odds
It’s difficult to know exactly which version of Rozenstruik will show up at the UFC Apex on Saturday night. Rozenstruik dominated over the first 10 fights of his UFC career, earning nine knockout victories and a split decision triumph over Andrey Kovalev. But he promptly ran into the Ngannou buzzsaw last time out, getting knocked out in just 20 seconds to send him careening down the heavyweight title rankings.
That loss might be just the thing to motivate Rozenstruik, who has four years and one inch of reach on his Saturday opponent. Like dos Santos, Rozenstruik is a master of the knockdown, ranking third among all UFC fighters in average knockdowns per 15 minutes (1.89). The Suriname native has a slightly lower significant strike rate than dos Santos (47 percent), and his significant strike defense (32 percent) is much lower than dos Santos’ (58 percent).
Dos Santos vs. Rozenstruik UFC 252 Prediction
Santos has the most total fight time among heavyweights in the entire UFC – and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. While Dos Santos looks like good value given the statistical edges he has, his best days are clearly behind him – and we like Rozenstruik using his loss to Ngannou as a learning lesson. We’re taking Bigi Boy to win via KO.