Rozenstruik forces Graziev to quit in UFC Fight Night

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Rozenstruik forces Graziev to quit in UFC Fight Night
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.

MANILA, Philippines – It pays to listen to your coaches.

“Just jab,” was the instruction of Jairzinho Rozenstruik’s coaches all night long. And not only was the Suriname fighter successful with it, he struck hitherto undefeated Shamil Graziev’s eye that caused vision problems, forcing him to quit the match after the fourth round.

In a heavyweight battle of heavyweight in the main event of UFC Fight Night last Sunday, March 3, at the Apex in Las Vegas, No. 12-ranked heavyweight "Bigi Boy '' Jairzinho Rozenstruik claimed a huge win over Graziev, who took his first loss in mixed martial arts and the UFC to drop to 12-1-0. The Bahrain native is now 1-1 in the UFC.  

Rozenstruik, who improved to 14-5-0, might return to the heavyweight top 10 rankings after this triumph.

Rozenstruik was successful with the jab in all four rounds. However, Graziev stole the first round with a late takedown. 

That was exactly what Graziev’s corner was calling for — takedowns and a possible submission. 

It was easier said than done because Rozenstruik’s takedown defense was spot on for much of the fight. 

The Suriname fighter established control in the third and fourth rounds and it looked like he was well on his way to victory when a shot at Graziev’s right eye immediately impaired his vision.

Referee Marc Goddard called an end to the fight due to “retirement.”

Said Rozenstruik, "It was amazing. The time I had to work on a lot of things, you saw it today. Even though I wanted to knock him out, I didn't rush. I had patience... We spent time working on specific things, and this was a piece of it. My corner gave me the right instruction: stick to the jab, keep moving forward, and eventually he gave up. Anyone who's out there, come and get it."

In the co-main event, light heavyweights Vitor Petrino and Tyson Pedro showed great respect for the others’ power, producing a tense, low-output affair that lasted all three rounds. Petrino came out more aggressively in the third, attacking on the feet before securing a takedown and out-hustling Pedro to win a unanimous decision to remain undefeated at 11-0-0 

Pedro fell to 12-5-0.

The post-match awards saw the Vinicius Oliveira-Benardo Sopaj bantamweight matches feted Fight of the Night. Oliveira knocked out Sopaj at the 4:41 mark of the third round.

For the Performance of the Night Award, Vinicius Oliveira and Steve Erceg were the recipients of the along with the $50,000 bonus that came with the plum. Erceg knocked out Matthew Christopher Schnell with 26 seconds left in the second round of their match-up.

Next Sunday, March 10, UFC 2999 will be televised live in the Philippines via the Premier Sports channel on Skycable and Cignal as well as the streaming application Blast TV.

Sean O’Malley’s first bantamweight title defense will be against Ecuadorian Marlon Vera in the main event. The co-main event finds Dustin Poirier taking on Benoit Saint-Denis in a lightweight match.

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