Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0) has just come off a blood and guts battle against seasoned veteran Alistair Overeem (45-18) and has called his shot against former title challenger Francis Ngannou (14-3). This fight could be interesting as Rozenstruik seems to be at the point where Ngannou was before his disastrous title attempt against the current Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (19-3).
Ngannou and Rozenstruik both like to counter
Both Rozenstruik and Ngannou like to wait on the outside and time their opponent coming in. Ngannou often looks for the counter uppercut or left hook while Rozenstruik will time intercepting jabs and rear hands. Apart from size, their main difference appears to be Rozenstruik’s willingness to come forward. As seen in the Derrick Lewis (22-7-1) fight Ngannou will not come forward regardless of what happens. The leg kick is the only proactive weapon Ngannou has at his disposal as he showed in his bout with Junior Dos Santos (21-6). Rozenstruik was willing to chase down Overeem when the larger man used kicks to keep the distance.
While both men have classic heavyweight cardio Rozenstruik is able to keep some pace into the later rounds. Rozenstruik’s overrated power is the largest factor in this fight. While impressive it’s clear that Rozenstruik does not possess monstrous heavyweight power like Ngannou. Sure he hits hard but all of his impressive knockouts are him timing people with a counter as run in on him.
In his fight with the tested chin of Overeem, Rozenstruik was able to land clean and yet the seasoned veteran was able to take all but the last shot. Rozenstruik also has rather poor defense when coming forward to land shots. Ngannou could land a low kick which would force Rozenstruik to come forward and be hit with a counter.
Ngannou’s kicks also offer Rozenstruik an opportunity to catch him with a shot while he is on one leg. Though I doubt this will be enough to knock out the man who took Miocic’s best shots for five rounds.
Ngannou and Rozenstruik hit hard, that’s the problem.
Unfortunately, it looks like the safest bet for both men is to hang back and wait for the other to come forward. This may lead to a stalemate of both men throwing non-committal strikes and standing on the outside. This could lead to a repeat of the poor performance Ngannou had against Derrick Lewis.
Rozenstruik’s call out of Ngannou may be his best move for a title shot but could be a miscalculation. Hopefully, if this fight happens we get the war we are hoping for. All things considered, it is doubtful.