Jairzinho Rozenstruik was no match for the up-and-coming Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC Vegas 20, losing a clear-cut unanimous decision.
It feels like a new day in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Of course, you could say that about any weight class in any promotion early in a new year. But in 2021, among the UFC’s heavyweight ranks, it has a particular ring of truth to it. Heavyweight is suddenly fresh, suddenly active. The gears are moving again. The big men were headlining their third card of February alone at UFC Vegas 20 on Saturday. The winner, one step closer to a title shot in a division suddenly brimming with contenders.
The big men in question, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane, were both battle tested, but still new enough to the UFC to be considered prospects. Certainly that was the case with Gane, who entered the night an undefeated 7-0.
It was a cautious start to the fight, understandably so considering the power both men possess. Gane was electing to use longer strikes in the early going to keep his distance from the heavy-handed Rozenstruik. Gane went to a body kick and Rozenstruik caught it and exploded with a big right hand that got Gane’s attention. Every time that Gane was too far inside, Rozenstruik made him pay, as he did after Gane missed with a right hook. Rozenstruik was caught by a right hand not soon after and Gane used the window of opportunity to push Rozenstruik against the cage. He had to fight through some downward elbows, but got Rozenstruik down with a strong double-leg before the end of the round.
THE NERVES 😅
— UFC (@ufc) February 28, 2021
Gane had some pep in his step in the second round, staying light on his feet. He landed a quick right hand on Rozenstruik. A few body kicks found the mark for Gane then a jab down the middle. Confidence began growing for Gane as began stringing together combinations. Leg kicks were coming from Gane’s direction more often as well. Rozenstruik then charged in, but Gane ducked under and grabbed a single-leg to drive him to the fence. A beautiful trip brought Rozenstruik to the ground, but he popped up quickly. A wild exchange occurred in which Gane had Rozenstruik’s back briefly, who then spun out and landed a big punch over the top. The end of the round shortly followed.
The third round started with leg kicks and a left hand from Gane, who had been much more active than his opponent up to this point. After a few leg kicks, a high kick caught Rozenstruik up top. A steady diet of jabs and low kicks continued to be fed to Rozenstruik, who then ate a right hand over the top. The offense slowed down midway through the round with Gane throwing his distance strikes with less frequency and Rozenstruik continuing to hunt for the one big punch. A smooth combination landed for Gane with about a minute left in the round as he went with a body kick followed by a one-two. Gane was in control heading into the fourth round.
The jabs and leg kicks kept coming from Gane. He mixed in a stepping knee to the body that drew out some punches from Rozenstruik, but nothing of significance landed. Rozenstruik simply could not do anything with the jab of Gane constantly in his face. Gane back him to the cage and then closed in with a big stepping knee that unfortunately landed below the belt. After a brief pause in the action, Gane continued to work his jab with stellar consistency and Rozenstruik had no answer.
Gane started the final round with a head kick to give Rozenstruik a different look. A stepping elbow helped Gane close the distance as he then pushed Rozenstruik against the cage. Rozenstruik escaped, but was still at the mercy of Gane’s will. Whenever Rozenstruik attempted to open up with strikes, Gane stifled him with a clinch. That’s where the fighters found themselves with 90 seconds left. Gane then had the back of Rozenstruik against the fence and was able to land a trip. Rozenstruik got back up, but Gane was in control until time expired.
Official Result: Ciryl Gane def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)