In recent years, two of the more rising contenders of the heavyweight division have been Jairzinho Rozenstruick and Augusto Sakai. However, after both taking a loss in their last appearance, the big boys are hungry to get momentum back on their side. They have the chance to do just that on Saturday night, fighting in the main event of a UFC “Fight Night” card.
The bout between Rozenstruick and Sakai headlines a show that is set to take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Here’s a full preview of the card.
Preliminary Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 1: Claudio Puelles (9-2) vs. Jordan Leavitt (8-0) (Lightweight)
Jordan Leavitt will attempt to follow up on a strong UFC debut when fighting Claudio Puelles in the opening bout of the card. Leavitt won his UFC debut in just 22 seconds last year, stopping veteran Matt Wiman with a slam knockout. The win extended Leavitt’s undefeated record to eight straight.
Puelles is returning to the cage after over a year outside of it. He scored his second consecutive UFC win in his last outing, defeating Marcos Mariano via unanimous decision in September of 2019.
Bout 2: Youssef Zalal (10-4) vs. Sean Woodson (7-1) (Featherweight)
Featherweights Youssef Zalal and Sean Woodson will be fighting to return to the win column on the prelims.
Zalal has had a quick UFC run with ups and downs thus far. Despite only making his UFC debut in February of 2020, Zalal has already competed in the octagon five times.
Zalal’s UFC run started strong, picking up three decision wins in 2020. However, he is now at risk of falling to a three-fight losing streak after losing scorecard battles against Ilia Topuria and Seung Woo Choi.
Woodson was handed his first pro loss in June, as Julian Erosa stopped him in the third round of a fight with a darce choke. Woodson’s previous fight was his UFC debut, where he defeated Kyle Bochniak.
Bout 3: Manon Fiorot (6-1) vs. Tabatha Ricci (5-0) (Flyweight)
In the first of many UFC debuts on Saturday night, undefeated flyweight Tabatha Ricci will fight Manon Fiorot. Ricci took the fight on short notice to replace Maryna Moroz, who reportedly withdrew from her fight.
Ricci is getting the UFC call-up after scoring three wins in LFA recently. Among the trio includes a quick armbar win and a stoppage victory just two months ago over Shawna Ormsby.
Fiorot is coming back after earning a strong UFC debut win earlier this year, stopping Invicta FC vet Victoria Leonardo in the second round with strikes.
Bout 4: Alan Patrick (15-3) vs. Mason Jones (10-1) (Lightweight)
Looking to score his first UFC win, former two-division Cage Warriors champ Mason Jones will be matched up with Alan Patrick.
Jones lost his UFC debut early this year, not being favoured on scorecards against Mike Davis. The fight was given to Jones after he attained an undefeated record of 10 wins on the regional scene in Europe.
Patrick, a UFC veteran of nearly eight years, will be fighting to snap a two-fight skid. He made his return to the cage in September, fighting for the first time in nearly two years. He lost the bout to fellow vet Bobby Green, who picked up a decision win.
Bout 5: Francisco Trinaldo (26-7) vs. Muslim Salikhov (17-2) (Welterweight)
The win streaks of Francisco Trinaldo and Muslim Salikhov will be wagered on the prelims. Trinaldo has attained three consecutive wins in recent years. His last win came via stoppage, catching Jai Herbert an overhand left in the third round of a bout in July of 2020.
Salikhov will enter the cage with a four-fight win streak that has been building since 2018. His last bout saw him score a split decision victory over Elizeu Zaleski.
Bout 6: Tanner Boser (19-7-1) vs. Ilir Latifi (14-8) (Heavyweight)
Ilir Latifi could be in a must-win position on Saturday night, fighting Tanner Boser in a heavyweight bout.
Latifi is currently on a three-fight losing streak and has been absent from the win column since early 2018. While he has spent the majority of his career at light heavyweight, he made the move to heavyweight last year to face Derrick Lewis. Latifi ended up losing the bout via split decision, giving him another loss.
Boser is also coming off a loss, having dropped a bout to Andrei Arlovski late last year. Before then, Boser was gaining momentum earlier in the year with stoppage wins over Raphael Pessoa and Philipe Lins.
Bout 7: Montana De La Rosa (11-6-1) vs. Ariane Lipski (13-6) (Flyweight)
A flyweight matchup between Montana De La Rosa and Ariane Lipski is set to take place during the preliminary card on Saturday. Lipski had a two-fight win streak broken in her last appearance, as Antonina Shevchenko stopped her in the second round of a fight with strikes.
De La Rosa has been out of the win column for her past two fights, losing and fighting to a draw on scorecards in her last two outings.
Bout 8: Makwan Amirkhani (16-5) vs. Kamuela Kirk (11-4) (Featherweight)
The preliminary card is set to conclude with a featherweight fight between Makwan Amirkhani and Kamuela Kirk. Amirkhani was first set to fight Nate Landwehr on Saturday, but has since been given UFC newcomer Kirk instead.
Kirk is joining the UFC roster after two recent wins in LFA. He last fought only last month, where he defeated Daniel Swain in the main event of a card. Earlier in the year, it took Kirk less than a round to stop Guilherme Santos with strikes.
Kirk is now on a strong two-fight win streak, putting him back in control after losing an LFA fight last year and a “Dana White’s Contender Series” appearance in 2019.
Amirkhani was given a loss in his last fight by Edson Barboza, who outlasted him for a scorecard victory.
Main Card (7:00PM EDT / 4:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 9: Tom Breese (12-3) vs. Antonio Arroyo (9-4) (Middleweight)
Antonio Arroyo has an important fight on the opening slot of the main card, attempting to score his first UFC win when fighting Tom Breese.
Arroyo entered the UFC in 2019 with a win on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” However, he has yet to score a win since then, having lost decisions to Andre Muniz and Deron Winn.
He now faces Breese, who is also fighting to bounce back from a loss. The 29-year-old was submitted in his last fight, being stopped by Omari Akhmedov in January. Three months before then, Breese scored a quick stoppage win against KB Bhullar.
Bout 10: Dusko Todorovic (10-1) vs. Gregory Rodrigues (9-3) (Middleweight)
Just weeks after being crowned a champion in LFA, Gregory Rodrigues is getting a fight in the UFC against Dusko Todorovic.
Rodrigues stopped fellow prospect Josh Fremd within a round with strikes last month to become the new LFA Middleweight Champion. The fight was the second in a four-man bracket that LFA had put together to find a new champ. Two months prior, Rodrigues won in the opening round of the bracket with a finish win against Al Matavao.
Rodrigues is replacing Maki Pitolo, who withdrew from his fight against Todorovic roughly two weeks back. Todorovic is coming back after taking his first pro loss earlier this year, being caught by punches from Punahele Soriano in the opening round of a fight.
Before then, Todorovic had won his UFC debut over Dequan Townsend.
Bout 11: Santiago Ponzinibbio (27-4) vs. Miguel Baeza (10-0) (Welterweight)
Rising welterweight Miguel Baeza will get a big test on Saturday, facing experienced fighter Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Baeza has now earned three finish wins since joining the UFC roster in 2019. Most recently, Baeza submitted Takashi Sato late in the second round of a fight with an arm triangle choke. The fight was the first submission win of his pro career, which has mostly consisted of fights ending due to strikes.
Ponzinibbio made his return to the cage earlier this year, fighting for the first time since 2018. The fight saw Li Jingliang stop him with punches, snapping a long seven-fight win streak that he had from previous years.
Bout 12: Roman Dolidze (8-1) vs. Laureano Staropoli (9-3) (Middleweight)
Three months after taking his first pro loss, Roman Dolidze is returning to fight Laureano Staropoli.
Dolidze’s UFC run started strong in 2020, defeating Khadis Ibragimov and John Allan in the second half of the year. The 32-year-old’s momentum ground to a halt in March when Trevin Giles defeated him on scorecards.
Staropoli has lost his last two fights and will look to avoid his third-in-a-row on Saturday. His last appearance was in August, where veteran Tim Means defeated him via decision.
Bout 13: Walt Harris (13-9) vs. Marcin Tybura (21-6) (Heavyweight)
In the first of two heavyweight bouts at the top of the UFC card, Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura will be paired up.
Tybura will be appearing for the first time after a flawless 2020, where he scored four consecutive wins. While the first three bouts came via decision, Tybura finished his year with a stoppage win over Greg Hardy.
Harris was finished in both of his fights last year, getting stopped in the second round by experienced fighters Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov.
Bout 14: Jairzinho Rozenstruick (11-2) vs. Augusto Sakai (15-2-1) (Heavyweight)
Heavyweight contenders Jairiznho Rozenstruick and Augusto Sakai have been on the rise in recent years. Looking to continue their climb towards the top, one of them must bounce back from a recent loss when competing in Saturday night’s main event.
Rozenstruick fought in the main event of a “Fight Night” card earlier this year, where undefeated contender Ciryl Gane cleared scorecards against him for a decision win against five rounds.
Prior to then, Rozenstruick had a UFC record of five wins and one loss.
Sakai’s last fight, a loss to Alistair Overeem in September, was his first time in the main event of a UFC card. He was given the bout after attaining four wins since 2018.