Weekend Warrior: Heavyweights Tangle Atop UFC on ESPN 7
Jairzinho Rozenstruik’s moment of truth has taken the form of a true MMA giant. The Suriname native will put his undefeated record on the line, as he looks to continue his rapid ascent on the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight ladder in the UFC on ESPN 7 main event opposite Alistair Overeem this Saturday at the Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C. Rozenstruik agreed to step in as a short-notice replacement for Walt Harris, who withdrew following the disappearance and death of his stepdaughter.
Cover Photo: Jeff Bottari / Contributor (Getty Images)
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Alistair Overeem punches Fabricio Werdum. Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)
A former Strikeforce champion and K-1 World Grand Prix winner, Overeem enters the cage on the strength of back-to-back victories. The 39-year-old Dutchman last competed at UFC Fight Night 149 in April, when he put away Aleksei Oleinik with first-round punches. He has delivered a staggering 40 of his 45 career wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission, marking him as one of the most proficient offensive fighters of all time. Overeem, who trains out of the Elevation Fight Team camp in Colorado, has compiled a 10-6 record since he joined the UFC roster in December 2011.
Rozenstruik, 31, burst on the scene with his second-round TKO of Junior Albini in February, then proceeded to author consecutive sub-minute finishes against Allen Crowder and Andrei Arlovski that totaled 38 seconds. He has gone the distance only once in nine professional appearances. While Rozenstruik’s MMA experience remains limited, he pieced together a 76-8-1 record as a kickboxer.
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Jairzinho Rozenstruik punches Junior Albini. Photo: Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)
UFC on ESPN 7 “Overeem vs. Rozenstruik”—which airs live on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT—will also feature a women’s strawweight co-headliner matching Marina Rodriguez with Cynthia Calvillo, a heavyweight tilt pitting Stefan Struve against Ben Rothwell, a women’s bantamweight affair pairing Aspen Ladd with Yana Kunitskaya and a bantamweight clash slotting Cody Stamann opposite Yadong Song. ESPN (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) and ESPN+ (5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT) will share coverage of the seven-fight undercard.