- Alistair Overeem looks to extend his win streak to three when he faces fast-rising Jairzinho Rozenstruik
- Overeem has won his past two fights by first-round knockout and is currently the No. 6-ranked UFC heavyweight
- No. 14-ranked Rozenstruik has scored three knockouts in three UFC fights
On Saturday (Nov. 7), the UFC returns to Washington, DC for the first time since October 2011. The headlining fight on the card features top-15 ranked heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who have combined for five straight knockout wins.
UFC on ESPN 7 takes place at Capital One Arena. ESPN broadcasts the main card following prelims on ESPN+.
OVEREEM VS ROZENSTRUIK ODDS
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Overeem has been competing in MMA since 1999. During that time he’s had his ups and down, but when he was knocked out by Francis Ngannou in one the scariest stoppages in UFC history, there was real concern over Overeem’s future. That concern increased when Curtis Blaydes knocked out Overeem in his next outing.
Since those two setbacks, Overeem has bounced back with first-round knockout wins over Sergei Pavlovich and Alexey Oleynik.
With just nine bouts under his belt, Rozenstruik does not have the experience in the sport that Overeem does, but he has proven to be a quick study, at least when it comes to the striking department. Rozenstruik, who made his pro debut in 2012, has finished all but one of his fights by knockout. Seven of his finishes have come in the first round, including two of his three UFC contests.
Overeem is known as a striker thanks to his 23 knockout wins, but before 2009, the Dutch fighter racked up his fair share of submission wins, 17 to be exact. Of these two fighters, Overeem is the more well-rounded, but he has relied on his kickboxing base a lot more than his mat skills as of late. Since he joined the UFC in 2011, Overeem has won seven fights by knockout and zero via submission. Overeem loves to work in close and land devastating knees from the clinch.
One thing to watch in this fight is whether Overeem tries to earn his first submission win since he tapped James Thompson with Dream in 2009. Overeem is effective 60 percent of the time with his takedowns and Rozenstruik has never had an opponent attempt to take him to the mat.
— UFC (@ufc) November 3, 2019
As his record indicates, Rozenstruik is a striker. Before he turned to MMA, Rozenstruik had 76 wins during an 85-fight kickboxing career. He earned 64 of those victories by knockout. Rozenstruik might not have a particularly deep skillset, but his striking has served him well up to this point. Not only is he powerful, but he’s also very accurate.
What makes hsi striking so appealing is the amount of power he generates in small spaces. Rozenstruik doesn’t need a lot of time or space to score a knockout. He stopped both Allen Crowder and Andrei Arlovski in close with short punches.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|Alistair Overeem||Category||Jairzinho Rozenstruik|
|3.59||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||4.29|
|2.04||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.37|
|1.40||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.00|
|1.00||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
For Overeem, this fight is a chance to prove that he is more than a gatekeeper. If he can get a win over an impressive up-and-comer like Rozenstruik, it should keep him in the mix near the top of the division.
As for Rozenstruik, he has high hopes for this matchup. “I hope a win over Alistair Overeem will bring me to the top 10, maybe top five,” Rozenstruik told MMA Junkie. “With this fight, I’m already happy, so where I land on the rankings with this fight is just going to be a surprise. I’m already happy with this matchup, so that’s a surprise for me. I come from all the way down, and I got myself up this fast, so whatever comes next will be just extra for me.”
This is a dangerous fight for Overeem. If he tries to keep things close so he can fight from the clinch, Rozenstruik will look to find a small opening and uncork a short punch that could turn out Overeem’s lights in an instant. Overeem’s best bet is to test Rozenstruik’s takedown and submission defense.
This bout is Rozenstruik’s fifth fight in less than 12 months. With so many bouts in such a small window, the question needs to be asked if he is improving as a well-rounded fighter. If he can avoid being taken down by Overeem, that’ll be a massive boost for his confidence and standing in the UFC, that is assuming he gets the win.
Pick: Rozenstruik (-105)