December 10, 2019

Collision Course: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Francis Ngannou Is the Hardest Hitting Bout the UFC Could Book

By Adam Martin

Heavyweights Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Francis Ngannou have made the UFC matchmakers' jobs easy. Both guys have been calling each other out, and now that Rozenstruik has put Alistair Overeem behind him in devastating fashion at UFC DC, the time is right to book this fight between arguably the two hardest-hitting heavyweights on the UFC roster. It's an absolute gimme.

Rozenstruik was confident heading into the Overeem fight and mentioned during fight week that he planned on calling out Ngannou if he beat Overeem. Rozenstruik said that he wanted the challenge of fighting Ngannou, who he calls the "boogeyman" of the UFC heavyweight division, and said he wanted to give the fans a good fight. Well, Rozenstruik did beat Overeem, knocking him out and brutally ripping off his lip in the process, then calling Ngannou out immediately afterward. Rozenstruik stuck to his word.

Ngannou got Rozenstruik's message and seems to be interested in the matchup. After all, he needs a fight. Ngannou hasn't competed since June and has had trouble securing an opponent. He's tried calling out Alexander Volkov multiple times to seemingly no avail. Now that Rozenstruik has entered the picture, however, Ngannou has someone who actually wants to step into the cage and fight him. Ngannou seems excited about the matchup, as do the fans.

If Rozenstruik and Ngannou do fight, you'd have a pairing of arguably the two heaviest hitters in heavyweight MMA. Rozenstruik has been a revelation since joining the UFC earlier this year, going 4-0 with four knockout wins -- over Junior Albini, Allen Crowder, Andrei Arlovski, and now Overeem. Of his 10 pro MMA wins, nine have come by knockout. Rozenstruik has been a pleasant surprise, one that has come out of nowhere to emerge as a legitimate heavyweight title threat in the UFC.

As for Ngannou, we all know what he can do with his fists. He's coming off of three straight knockout wins -- over Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, and Junior dos Santos -- to re-enter title contention at the UFC's heaviest weight class. Other than Stipe Miocic (and Derrick Lewis, but let's not talk about that fight) no one has given Ngannou any problems. But Rozenstruik seems like the kind of opponent that would really push Ngannou to the limit, and that makes for a great fight on paper.

No one calls out Ngannou, but Rozenstruik did. The UFC has had issues finding an opponent for Ngannou, but now there's no excuse. These two guys want each other, and based on where both men currently stand in the UFC heavyweight division, the fight makes too much sense not to book. If the UFC wants to create the Octagon battle with the maximum impact, all the matchmakers have to do is book Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik. The fighters want it and the fans want it, so just book it already.

UFC on ESPN 7
Alistair Overeem vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik: Jairzinho Rozenstruik def. Alistair Overeem via knockout (punch) at 4:56 of Round 5.

UFC on ESPN 7: Overeem vs. Rozenstruik (formerly UFC on ESPN 7: Overeem vs. Harris) took place December 7, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN 7 Post-Fight Analysis


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