After falling short at UFC Charlotte, what’s next for Jairzinho Rozenstruik?

May 13, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Jairzinho Rozenstruik (red gloves) reacts after a loss to Jailton Almeida (blue gloves) in a heavyweight bout during UFC Fight Night at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday in the headliner of UFC Charlotte, we saw a heavyweight clash featuring two contenders battling for a spot in the top ten. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (13-5) was looking to stop the hype train known as Jailton Almeida (19-2) who was looking to continue his dominance inside the octagon.

In 2020, Rozenstruik was unbeaten and he asked for the toughest challenge possible. He asked for Francis Ngannou who was on the warpath for the UFC heavyweight title. Unfortunately, Rozenstruik was knocked out in just 20 seconds in that bout.

After that loss, he went just 3-3 in his last six fights leading to Saturday night. Given how good “Bigi Boy” is on the feet, the thought was that if he could keep the fight standing, he would have a good shot against Almeida. However, doing that proved to be virtually impossible at UFC Charlotte.

Rozenstruik fought with pressure early and forced a takedown attempt from Almeida which he stuffed. However, after resetting, Almeida was able to time a takedown perfectly and got the fight to the mat. Once it was there, the fight was essentially over.

Almeida worked through his progression and got to the mount. Rozenstruik had no answer for him. After landing a couple of shots, Rozenstruik gave up his back and Almeida immediately got a choke. The tap came quickly and that was that.

What’s next after UFC Charlotte?

This is a really tough loss for Rozenstruik. Rozenstruik has really failed to capture the same level of momentum inside the octagon that he had entering 2020. He’s still a very solid contender, but he’s just 3-5 in his last eight fights and has really struggled against top competition.

So, what should the UFC do with him next? I think they need to pair him against a guy he can strike with and against a guy in a similar spot. I love the idea of pairing Rozenstruik with Derrick Lewis next. The all time heavyweight knockout king has also struggled as of late.

Pairing these two would be a good opportunity to build one of them back up. Either Lewis would get a huge knockout win to bounce back or Rozenstruik would re-establish himself amongst the top ten in the UFC.

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