What’s Next: UFC Charlotte Losers

Jairzinho Rozenstruik, UFC Charlotte
Jairzinho Rozenstruik, UFC Charlotte ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Bryson Hester/Cageside Press

UFC Charlotte saw breakout performances from the likes of Jailton Almeida and Ian Garry, while opponents Jair Rozenstruik, Daniel Rodriguez, and others now need to regroup. Here’s a look at what could come next for the losing side of Saturday’s card in Charlotte, NC.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Jairzinho Rozenstruik has been known during his UFC run as a low-volume knockout artist with a weakness for wrestler/grapplers who is not quite within reach of the belt. He entered his main event opportunity against Jailton Almeida as the ninth-ranked heavyweight in the UFC. Now, he will fall a few spots after losing to #12.

Right in the same vicinity of Jairzinho at #11, and with a similar style of fighting, is the fan-favorite ‘Black Beast,’ Derrick Lewis. It feels like the two have always been on somewhat of a collision course, with fans recognizing that a fight between such similar fighters was inevitable some day. Now is the time to make that fight and test both fighters as they look to recover from losses.

Rozenstruik’s Next Fight: Derrick Lewis

Anthony Smith

‘Lionheart’ made it to the scorecards as his opponent, Johnny Walker, often let Smith off the hook when he was hurt in round three, but Anthony showed resiliency to fight through the damage, especially to his legs. His toughness has never been in question, just his true level at light heavyweight.

Johnny Walker now pushes Smith, once again, back down the rankings after entering the fight ranked fifth at light heavyweight. On the other hand, rising at 205lbs is undefeated Russian Azamat Murzakanov. Smith would be the stiffest test of Murzakanov’s career and his well-rounded game may present problems for Azamat, but the fight is winnable for either man and would tell the world a lot about where they each stand in their careers right now. Assuming Smith chooses to fight on.

Smith’s Next Fight: Azamat Murzakanov

Daniel Rodriguez

Rodriguez lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his career, as well as most likely losing his ranking, after Ian Garry head-kicked him and followed up for a TKO via ground strikes at UFC Charlotte. ‘D-Rod’ had risen to prominence during the pandemic era of the UFC by accepting numerous short notice fights and beating stars like Kevin Lee and Mike Perry, but now he will fall out of the top 15 and look to right the ship, with an eye towards gaining back his ranking soon.

In the past, D-Rod was booked to fight budding superstar Kevin Holland but that fight was scrapped when UFC 279 was rearranged on the day before the fights after Khamzat Chimaev’s infamous weight miss. With Holland on the rise again after his knockout of Santiago Ponzinibbio, the D-Rod fight is the perfect one to make. The two fighters’ exciting striking styles would likely make for a thrilling battle on the feet.

Rodriguez’s Next Fight: Kevin Holland

Ihor Potieria

Potieria fell to 1-2 in the UFC after getting stopped quickly by Carlos Ulberg at UFC Charlotte. One more loss could spell the end of his young UFC run and so he should be matched up withs someone whose job is on the line. A positive to takeaway from Potieria is that he is an action fighter; his fights have thus far all ended inside the distance in the UFC. A fellow striker with an exciting style who is at the lower end of light heavyweight, like Tafon Nchukwi, would make a lot of sense

Potieria’s Next Fight: Tafon Nchukwi

Tim Means

Tim ‘The Dirty Bird’ Means was doing well in a high-paced fight before Alex Morono jumped the guillotine and forced him to tap early in round two. Although the forty-eight fight veteran is on a three fight losing streak, he still seems to have a good bit left in the tank at age thirty-nine.

One potential fight for Means’ next bout is another athlete who lost on this card: Court McGee. McGee is a fellow veteran of the fight game and so neither would be a proverbial sacrificial lamb for young talent if they were to fight each other. Both are on the downslope of their careers but not quite ready to call it quits, so this fight makes sense.

Means’ Next Fight: Court McGee