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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Jairzinho Rozenstruik after shutout loss at UFC Vegas 20?

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UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik v Gane Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone after UFC Vegas 20 once again took over UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Jimmie Rivera, who came up short on the judges’ scorecards in his rematch with Pedro Munhoz (recap), though he does have 50,000 reasons to hold his head up high despite defeat.

And Kevin Croom, who failed to get his first win inside the Octagon after coming up empty against Alex Caceres. But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

Coming into his headlining Heavyweight bout against Ciryl Gane, “Bigi Boy” was looking to build off the momentum from his knockout win over Junior dos Santos and issue a statement with another impressive victory, making some waves in the championship race in the process.

Unfortunately, Rozenstruik didn’t show up. He was physically there, but his offense simply was not. “Bigi Boy” never pressed, never took risks and was simply waiting to play the counter attack game against a man who was content with striking from a distance.

Let’s not act like Gane looked spectacular because he didn’t ... just ask Dana White. But he did do enough to earn the nod. As for Rozenstruik, he acknowledged that his performance was extremely lacking.

“Uuuh, fans, family, and friends ... I just fought, and the fight didn’t go my way,” Rozenstruik said. “I think it’s my worst performance ever if you ask me. I’m hard on myself. So this is me explaining myself, I think I owe you guys this. I’m going to go back home and work my ass off for my next fight. Don’t know when it’s going to be ... Respect to Ciryl, he won the fight and he’s a phenomenal fighter. That is what I can say.”

Sure, fight fans are upset they didn’t get the Heavyweight war everyone anticipated, but the anger and disappointment will pass and writing off Rozenstruik simply isn’t smart. He is still the same monster whose 10 of 11 wins have come via knockout. Heck, even Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis were slammed for their less-than-stellar fight a few years ago, and fans were quick to forgive them once they got back to their head-rattling ways.

And the same can happen for “Bigi Boy.”

As for who Rozenstruik should face next, perhaps a showdown against Curtis Blaydes (No. 3) is in order because it seems like the only logical fight to make. Alexander Volkov (No. 5) is coming off a win, Rozenstruik already knocked out Alistair Overeem (No. 6), Shamil Abdurakhimov (No. 8) is booked to fight Augusto Sakai (No. 9) and Chris Daukaus (No. 10) needs another win or two before he starts facing the Top 5.

Since Rozenstruik (No. 4) is only one spot behind Blaydes and both are coming off losses, it seems like a good fit. Sure, one of the Top 5 Heavyweights will be leaving with his second straight loss, but that’s the fight game.