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Jairzinho Rozenstruik promises to knock out Ngannou at UFC Columbus - ‘I don’t think he’s the best striker’

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UFC Fight Night: Overeem v Rozenstruik Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Jairzinho Rozenstruik took Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) by storm last year after racking off four equally impressive knockout wins inside of the Octagon, culminating with a last-second finish over veteran heavyweight Alistair Overeem in the main event of UFC on ESPN 7.

Rozenstruik’s improbable start to his UFC career has left him on the doorstep of a title shot entering 2020. All “Bigi Boy” has to do is take out divisional powerhouse Francis Ngannou at UFC on ESPN 8 this March to solidify his spot in the rankings and make a push for gold. It would be pretty incredible considering Rozenstruik returned to professional MMA just three years ago after a near five-year hiatus.

“Basically, what I’ve heard people say is that I’m supposed to get the title shot, and I think (Ngannou is) also risking his spot for that,” Rozenstruik told MMA Junkie. “So I’m going to beat him, take his spot, and I’m going to go for the title.”

Rozenstruik, 31, is one of the more intimidating figures in the heavyweight division. Even before he was seen knocking out Andrei Arlovski in 29 seconds and splitting Overeem’s lip open like a cantaloupe, Rozenstruik was dismantling heavyweights on the open MMA circuit in Suriname, Russia, and Japan.

But despite his track record for one-punch destruction, “Bigi Boy” has never faced an opponent quite like Ngannou, who very well may be the hardest puncher MMA has ever seen. It will be up to Rozenstruik to dispel those beliefs and prove that his hands are just as deadly.

“I fought a lot of strong guys before – big, scary guys – and I used to knock them out. This won’t be any different,” Rozenstruik said. “The only thing I know is that we’re working and we’re going to get the job done. That’s what we’re going in for.

“I don’t think he’s the best striker I’m going to face, but he is the biggest challenge. We believe we’re going to put him away. It’s a fight. It’s going to go back and forth – who lands first, who can take a shot, who cannot. We’re going to see March 28.”

UFC on ESPN 8 will take place on Mar. 28 live on ESPN from inside Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, and feature Octagon notables like former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, Julianna Pena, Greg Hardy, Aspen Ladd, Matt Brown, Raphael Assuncao, and Sam Alvey.

For more UFC Columbus fight card news click here.