Saturday night June 5th the UFC returns to the APEX in Las Vegas for UFC Fight Night. The card will be headlined by the heavyweight main event Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs Augusto Sakai.
Other notable fights on the card include: Walt Harris vs Marcin Tybura and Miguel Baeza vs Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Rozenstruik vs Sakai Preview
This is a very intriguing heavyweight matchup simply because of the state of the heavyweight division. This is a matchup of two fighters, both fresh off of a loss fighting their way to remain in the top 10 and work towards a title shot.
The raw power in this division makes anyone with sound technical skills a threat. Most of the guys in this division have one punch knockout power with these two included.
Rozenstruik (11-2) was viewed as the next big thing in the UFC heavyweight division after entering the UFC with an undefeated record and recording four straight knockout victories. However, since then he was stopped by current champ Francis Ngannou and flat out dominated in a boring main event with Ciryl Gane.
Augusto Sakai (15-2-1) is not as big of a name in the UFC world however he has found success in the UFC and is off to a 4-1 start in the UFC. Augusto Sakai has only been stopped once in his career and it was his last time out against Alistair Overeem.
Another interesting piece to this matchup is that both guys have 5th round experience which is rare for heavyweights so early in their careers.
Both guys have a similar stand and bang style Sakai holds a 61% knockout rate while Rozenstruik is at 76%. The power in the hands of both of these men could end the fight at any point the question is who will land first.
Jairzinho has never attempted a takedown in the UFC and Augusto has only landed one. It will be interesting to see if either guy mixes in some grappling to throw a wrench into what is expected.
There is no significant height or reach advantage. Jairzinho has a one inch reach and height advantage while Augusto is heavier by 7 pounds.
Rozenstruik vs Sakai Pick
William Hill current odds: Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-138) vs Augusto Sakai (+110)
As far as a straight up pick goes I think Rozenstruik is the play here. Jairzinho is a bit sharper with his hands and is able to string together a few more combos than Sakai is used to seeing. He has also fought against some of the best in the division and coming off a loss he will want to insert his name back into the title picture.
- Rozenstruik (-138)
- Rozenstruik by KO/TKO/DQ (+150)
- Fight to go the distance – No (-225)
Tybura vs Harris Preview
This is another clash that should be fun to watch in the heavyweight division. Both of these men are experienced heavyweights and have been part of the UFC for years.
Walt Harris (13-9) has struggled to recover from the death of his stepdaughter. He has been knocked out in his previous two fights. Every single one of Harris’ 13 wins have come by way of knockout. Harris does have serious power in his hands.
Marcin Tybura (21-6) is an extremely tactical fighter who has fought his way into the UFC rankings with 4 straight wins. Tybura knocked out Greg Hardy in his last outing.
Tybura is an extremely good wrestler and has developed his submission game throughout the years. Tybura can strike and wrestle which gives him an advantage over lots of heavyweights who tend to be one sided.
Tybura vs Harris Pick
William Hill current odds: Marcin Tybura (-175) vs Walt Harris (+138)
I like Tybura in this spot. Harris is susceptible to the takedown and I think Tybura matches up well here because he can definitely strike with Harris but can also take him down if need be.
My Pick: Marcin Tybura (-175)
Baeza vs Ponzinibbio Preview
This fight in my opinion is one of the biggest on the entire card. Neither of these guys are big names but both have shown they can fight in the welterweight division.
Santiago Ponzinibbio (28-4) has put together a solid MMA career thus far. He has 21 stoppage victories with 6 submissions and 15 knockouts. He has a 9-3 UFC record and recently knocked out a big name fighter in Neil Magny (#8 welterweight). He has a solid skill set and is a good striker and wrestler.
Miguel Baeza (10-0) has put together an undefeated start to his young career. It is always interesting to watch undefeated MMA fighters because often once they reach the UFC it is not long before the 0 in the loss column is erased. However, Baeza has been able to retain his 0 with three stoppage victories in 3 UFC appearances.
Baeza has stopped 8 of his 10 bouts, 7 by knockout and 1 by submission.
Both men are well versed in wrestling, grappling, and striking. It will be very interesting to see how this fight plays out with both men pushing hard to crack into the welterweight rankings.
Baeza vs Ponzinibbio Pick
William Hill current odds: Miguel Baeza (-125) vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (+100)
This is going to be a great matchup stylistically. This fight truly could go either way. One thing that is apparent is that both of these fighters do not leave it up to the judges. Baeza has an 80% stoppage rate in his wins and Santiago 75%.
My Pick: Fight to go the distance – No (-200)
Stay tuned for more betting previews and picks over at BettingMidwest.com.