Ref Halts UFC Vegas 87 Main Event As Shamil Gaziev Unable to Continue Against Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Shamil Gaziev, UFC Vegas 87
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 02: (L-R) Jairzinho Rozenstruik of Suriname punches Shamil Gaziev of Russia in a heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on March 02, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Heavyweights took center stage in the UFC Vegas 87 main event, as Surinamese kickboxer Jairzinho Rozenstruik took on the undefeated Shamil Gaziev atop the Fight Night card.

The main event rolled around early on Saturday, getting underway at roughly 3:30PM local time in Las Vegas.

Gaziev telegraphed a punch to open the fight, which Rozenstruik easily evaded. A second blow seemed to glance off “Bigi Boy,” who would circle, land kicks, and find a home for his own punches. The jab of Rozenstruik in particular served him well, but Gaziev still managed to press forward, backing Jairzinho up.

By the midway point of the round, Gaziev was leaking a bit of blood from his nose. Still undeterred, the undefeated heavyweight marched forward, and looked for a takedown, which Rozenstruik easily stuffed. A right hand for Rozenstruik, trailed by his jab, landed, but again Gaziev backed the kickboxer up to the fence. Gaziev landed a couple of solid punches before the pair clinched up, with Rozenstruik demonstrating noticeably improved takedown defense. Soon enough, however, Gaziev got the fight down with under a minute to go in the round. Off his back, Rozenstruik was unable to escape, but the pair rode out the round.

After a competitive first round, Rozenstruik against found himself backed up early in the second, but still managed to land his jab. Gaziev got his opponent to the fence, connecting with a solid knee to the body, but the Bahraini fighter couldn’t find a way to get Rozenstruik down. Instead the pair fought out the round in close, trading and grappling but staying on the feet.

Having only gone to a third round once in his career, round three was bound to be interesting for Shamil Gaziev. He appeared to be sucking back air, mouthpiece halfway out. Rozenstruik, meanwhile, worked his jab, occasionally going to the body and taking advantage of a flagging opponent. Rozenstruik’s stand-up skills were starting to shine, and Gaziev was increasingly bloodied.

If round three had been a question mark for Gaziev, round four was uncharted territory. Territory he entered after clearly losing the third to Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Between rounds, his corner insisted that if he could land a takedown, he could win the fight. Gaziev went right after that takedown early in the fourth, pressing Rozenstruik up against the fence. He struggled to get the fight down, however, earning a warning from the ref to stay busy before Rozenstruik ducked out and moved back to center.

There, Rozenstruik went back to targeting the body and head with jabs as Gaziev, still exhausted, plodded forward. A 1-2 combo connected for Jairzinho, who followed up with some more big swings. Later in the round, the mouthpiece of Gaziev, which he had barely been hanging onto, was finally knocked out. Gaziev himself survived, but was faced with a fifth round that would necessitate a finish. Especially after a late flurry from Rozenstruik at the end of round four.

Yet as it turned out, round five was not required. Between rounds, Gaziev appeared to be in a heated discussion with his corner. Whatever was said, ref Marc Goddard had some concern, perhaps based on the heavyweight’s body language. Demanding the translator step in, it was revealed that Gaziev was struggling to see out of one eye. That was enough for Goddard to wave off the fight, giving Jairzinho Rozenstruik the TKO win!

Speaking in his post-fight interview, Rozenstruik suggested a return to action this summer, against anyone who wanted to get it.

Official Result: Jairzinho Rozenstruik def. Shamil Gaziev by TKO (ref stoppage), Round 4, 5:00