The big boys take centre stage at UFC Charlotte this weekend when Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Jailton Almeida headline the card to look to move up the heavyweight rankings.
Rozenstruik is looking to get back into the top five conversation with a win, with a current professional record of 13-4 including a 7-4 run in the UFC to date.
He’ll be coming up against the on-fire up and comer Almeida who is coming into this bout on a 13-fight win streak and is undefeated in the UFC, having fought at light heavyweight and heavyweight.
Last time out at UFC 288 we didn’t have the best night of picks as we went 6/12 with two perfect picks to move us to 872/1351 (64.54%) with 357 perfect picks (40.94%). You can see our full pick history here.
We’ll look to put that right here in this very intriguing match-up, with big top five consequences for the winner.
Recent fight history
“Bigi Boy” has had a tough time of things of late in the heavyweight division.
The Suriname native has lost three of his last five fights. He dropped a unanimous decision to Ciryl Gane before getting back in the win column with a first-round knockout over Augusto Sakai in the following bout.
That was followed up with a unanimous decision loss to Curtis Blaydes before Alexander Volkov turned in a striking clinic with a first-round knockout to put Rozenstruik on his first losing streak of his career. He bounced back last time out though with a knockout win over Chris Daukaus in 23 seconds.
Almeida on the other hand is absolutely flying in the UFC and this will be his biggest test to date.
So far the Brazilian has gone 4-0 in the UFC with all stoppages, claiming a knockout over Danilo Marques in his debut followed by submission wins against Parker Porter and Anton Turkalj.
Last time out against Shamil Abdurakhimov he earned another vicious knockout win despite being taken into the second round for the first time in his UFC tenure.
This is once again another classic striker vs grappler bout in the main event and it’s one that is very intriguing to break down.
Rozenstruik is a fantastic kickboxer with incredible one-punch power and strong low kicks, and his power carries through over the course of 25 minutes if necessary as we saw when he fought Alistair Overeem.
He likes to push opponents against the cage with pressure before unloading a flurry of strikes full of power, knowing that if one lands clean that could be the end of the bout.
Almeida on the other hand is a phenomenal grappler with world renowned jiu-jitsu skills. He’s also a nasty striker with good power, but it’s on the ground where he does his best work.
His offensive wrestling is not the greatest, but he does have good trips and throws and if he gets into top position on the ground then he stays there until the fight or the round ends.
Power or grappling is the big question in this one, and usually I lean towards the grappler who can control where the fight goes.
But there is a genuinely worrying size difference in this one with Almeida being a light heavyweight moving up, whereas Rozenstruik would struggle to weigh in at 205lbs if he cut a leg off.
If Rozenstruik lands clean then this one will end quickly, but Almeida is quick with his movements and his striking itself isn’t that bad so he will be able to hold his own for a short while. And if he is able to get his hands on Rozenstruik and take the fight to the mat then it will be over quickly.
As much as the one-punch power and size difference gives “Bigi Boy” a great chance for victory, I can’t see past Almeida being able to get him down and work for a submission quickly with his phenomenal skills to make himself a real threat in the heavyweight division.
PICK – Jailton Almeida via Submission, Round 1