After an uncharacteristic week off last weekend, the UFC returns this Saturday with UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs Sakai (aka UFC Vegas 28) at their Las Vegas UFC Apex gym. Hopefully, you spent your spare time last weekend productively and didn’t just sit staring at your television waiting for the fights to come back on.
If you did choose to sit around and wait for the fights, then your wait is almost over. As mentioned, the UFC is back this weekend with a heavyweight-heavy card, with the top two fights pitting four top 10 ranked UFC big boys against one another.
The main event sees two big men coming off losses looking to bounce back. Jairzinho Rozenstruik has only won one of his last three fights, but both losses came to top of the food chain fighters in current champ Francis Ngannou and surging contender Ciryl Gane. His opponent on Saturday, Augusto Sakai, got TKO’d in his last octagon appearance by Alistair Overeem, but had won all his UFC fights (four) leading up to that one.
Battle of the K.O. Artists
This is a tough one to call a winner in as well as a tough fight to even predict a style for. Both men are big knockout artists (11 out of 15 wins for Sakai; 10 out of 11 for Rozenstruik) but that could mean both will fight cautiously, avoiding their opponent’s power. Rozenstruik especially is prone to lone periods of doing nothing in the cage before exploding with a ridiculously powerful and athletic knockout.
I think I’m going to bank on just that – Rozenstruik’s power and athleticism – to win this fight and pick him at 10/13 to win over his Brazilian foe (who is currently at even money –
1/1). And, considering all the Surinamese fighter’s UFC wins have come via KO, you may as well take the prop bet of him winning via this method at 1
The co-main event partners up two fighters headed in opposite directions. 35-year-old Polish fighter Marcin Tybura has won four-straight fights, including a Performance of the Night TKO against former NFL star Greg Hardy in his last fight. Meanwhile, Walt Harris has been TKO’d in his past two fights and hasn’t had his hand raised in almost two years. His UFC record now stands at 6-8 over two stints in the organization, so this is probably a win or go home situation for him on Saturday. Sadly, since he’s a nice guy, I’m predicting he’s going to be sent packing. Tybura is my pick at
8/15, as he’s the better striker and grappler in this matchup.
King of Kung Fu is Lock of the Week
This is lining up to be a chalky card, at least in my eyes, but a card this size normally would produce about three or four underdogs. There is one dog I’ve got targeted for Saturday night – you’re on your own for the other two or three.
I like Youssef Zalal at
29/20 in his featherweight fight against Sean Woodson. ‘The Moroccan Devil’ won his first two UFC fights before dropping his last two, so he’s needing a win on Saturday night. Woodson got tapped out in his last fight, his first career loss. I like Zalal in this fight since he’s younger and has better striking and grappling stats. Plus, he’s never been finished in a fight in his pro career.
My lock pick of the week is the ‘King of Kung Fu’, Muslim Salikhov, at
20/51 for his fight against Francisco Trinaldo. He’s much younger than his soon-to-be 43-year-old foe, bigger, and is a superior striker. Plus, you can’t beat that nickname.