The UFC is close to finalizing a big time matchup in the heavyweight division. MMA Fighting was the first to report today that the promotion had verbal agreements for a heavyweight fight between Curtis Blaydes (14-3, 1 NC) and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2).
The matchup will take place at UFC 266 which is currently scheduled for September 25th. This is the fight that Rozenstruik wanted. Bigi Boy just fought Augusto Sakai less than two weeks ago in a main event.
That night, Rozenstruik picked up the first round TKO win. After the fight was over, he requested that the UFC book him against Curtis Blaydes next. Bigi Boy said that it was the fight he wanted and a fight that made sense for the heavyweight division.
With the win over Sakai, Rozenstruik moved to 6-2 in his eight UFC fights. He was unbeaten entering 2020 and he had a title eliminator against Francis Ngannou. Ngannou knocked Rozenstruik out in 20 seconds.
Rozenstruik then went 1-1 in his next two fights. Earlier this year, he had a main event against Ciryl Gane where he looked awful. Bigi Boy wasn’t aggressive and lost a decision. He promised the UFC he’d deliver in his next fight and that’s what he did with a first round TKO.
UFC 266 Heavyweight Battle
UFC 266 will provide Curtis Blaydes with a much needed opportunity to bounce back. Back in 2018, Blaydes was close to a title shot when he took on Francis Ngannou. Had Blaydes won that fight, he might’ve earned himself a shot at the belt.
However, like Rozenstruik, Blaydes was knocked out in under a minute by Ngannou. After that loss, Blaydes won four straight to put himself in another title eliminator. This one was against the popular Derrick Lewis.
Given what we know about the Jon Jones situation, the winner of Blaydes/Lewis was going to get a UFC title shot against Francis Ngannou. After starting well, Blaydes was knocked out cold by Derrick Lewis. Another big setback for Curtis Blaydes.
Blaydes is one of the best heavyweights in the world. However, he has seemed to stumble right when he gets to a title eliminator. He needs a big win over Rozenstruik in September to get him back on track and in the conversation for a future title shot.