Rozenstruik makes statement with KO of Arlovski at UFC 244
Suriname’s Jairzinho ‘Bigi Boy’ Rozenstruik has officially arrived into the mainstream consciousness with his 0:29 knockout of UFC veteran Andrei Arlovski. His killer left hook marks his third consecutive first round knockout since joining UFC. He has yet to make it past the first round since joining the promotion with early knockouts of Allen Crowder (10-3) and Junior Albini (14-4). With his efficient victory over a well known veteran name in Arlovski, he is forcing his way into minds of hardcores and casuals alike.
While his first round knockouts are compelling and certainly welcomed in the reshaping of UFC’s heavyweight division, it still leaves more questions than answers with such sparse octagon time. His raw stopping power is unquestionable, but his only performance of length comes back in May of 2018 with his split decision victory over Andrey Kovalev at Rizin 10.
Notably Rozenstruik received a yellow card before the bout even started for greasing and had 10% deducted from his purse. During his pre fight inspection Rizin officials discovered his legs and body were illegally covered in grease and spent a significant amount of time spraying alcohol on his shins, knees and body to remove as much grease as possible.
In the opening round of the bout Rozenstruik displayed his powerful jab and his right hand, delivering heavy shots to Kovalev, but the tough Ukrainian would eat his best shots with little consequence and elect to keep the fight standing, never shooting for a takedown. He would largely counter punch his way through the first round, occasionally offering some leg kicks.
Rozenstruik opened the second round with high kicks and counter strikes, eventually walking Kovalev into the corner and only missing a flying knee to the head with a solid and authoritative teeb kick from Kovalev. Rozenstruik would continue to work his lower leg kicks before finally forcing Kovalev to shoot for a takedown nearly halfway through the round. He would lift and drop Rozenstruik with ease, falling directly into side control. Rozenstruik looked largely lost on his back as Kovalev was content to deliver heavy elbows to the face. Kovalev stayed busy with strikes in the top position to finish out and win the second round.
In the third Kovalev would unsuccessfully shoot for the single leg, only to have Rozenstruik defend the takedown into the clinch and eventually find the trip to land vicious strikes from above. Rozenstruik enjoyed a dominant third round as both their cardio waned. Kovalev’s toughness would be enough to see him through to a decision, but he didn’t do enough to convince the judges.
As we have seen in the UFC, opponents with lesser durability will easily crumble under his power, but as he climbs the rankings he will encounter exponentially more skilled wrestlers and grapplers. Due to his quick and efficient wins in the UFC it is unclear how much Rozenstruik’s ground game has improved, but it will easily be considered as a path to defeating him for future opponents, especially without the benefit of illegal greasing.