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UFC Vegas 28 start time, who is fighting tonight at ‘Rozenstruik vs Sakai’ in Las Vegas

UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik v Sakai Weigh-in Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to ESPN+ later tonight (Sat., June 5, 2021) to stage UFC Vegas 28 from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will feature a Heavyweight bout between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai. In the co-headlining act, Walt Harris will look to break his skid when he takes on Marcin Tybura.

What’s Hot:

When you think of the headlining big men, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai aren’t exactly the first two names the jump out at you. That said, the heavy hitters will get the spotlight in “Sin City” in a hard-hitting slugfest between two knockout artists that are in need of a win. “Bigi Boy” is coming off a loss to Ciryl Gane in a performance that didn’t sit well with too many people. In fact, after starting off his career with 10 straight wins which includes four consecutive knockouts inside the Octagon, Rozenstruik has gone 1-2 in his last three bouts. But it’s nothing new; there have been several fighters who get off to blistering starts inside the eight-sided cage only to slow down once the level of competition increases. Now, Jairzinho will look to gain back some of that momentum against a very tough opponent.

Sakai — the former Bellator MMA big man — has had a great run thus far under the UFC banner, earning four straight wins before running into Alistair Overeem in his last fight, which resulted in him getting stopped via strikes in the fifth and final round. But Sakai had already established himself as a rising threat in the 265-pound division, and with several longtime veterans such as Overeem, Junior dos Santos and Daniel Cormier no longer with the promotion, the time is now for Sakai — as well as Rozenstruik — to strike. And they have to strike hard to avoid back-to-back losses and falling further down the ladder. Sakai might be just a bit more polished but “Bigi Boy” has power for days. It’s a tough matchup to call to be honest, but a knockout in either direction is a very obvious possibility once haymakers start flying.

What’s Not:

In the co-main event, 265-pound contenders Marcin Tybura and Walt Harris are two fighters going in opposite directions. Tybura has won four in a row and is making moves in the rankings while Harris has lost two in a row. Harris’ woes are understandable given the tragic death of his daughter a few years ago. A tragedy like that will affect the strongest of them. But like the true warrior that he is Harris keeps chugging along and looks to right his ship and take Tybura’s thunder with a win. All 13 of Walt’s wins have come via knockout, so it’s no secret what his gameplan will be. As for Tybura, while he does have heavy hands he does tend to mix in his ground game and grappling a bit more. It will be a tough task for Harris if he wants to break his skid here. So why is this fight in the “What’s Not” section? It’s not that I don’t like the fight itself, but again, one is coming off two straight losses while the other fighter has won four in a row. You mean to tell me UFC couldn't find another big man on a win streak to pair Tybura up with? It’s a high risk/low reward type of situation for him.

Original Card vs Actual Card:

Amanda Ribas and Angela Hill were set to collide on this card but Ribas had to withdraw since she wasn’t fully recovered from COVID-19. For now, there are no plans to rebook this fight and Hill awaits a new foe.

Injuries:

Alessio Di Chirico suffered an undisclosed injury last month and was forced out of his fight against Roman Dolidze and was ultimately replaced by Laureano Staropoli. Maki Pitoli also suffered and injury that bounced him from his scheduled showdown against Dusko Tudorovic. In to fill the void is UFC newcomer Gregory Rodrigues.

The injury bug was working overtime for this event because Nate Landwehr also pulled out of the event where he was set to take on Makwan Amirkhani in Featherweight action. Kamuela Kirk will now take his place.

New Blood:

Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) standout Tabatha Ricci will put her 5-0 record on the line when she takes on Mana Fiorot, winner of six in a row. Fiorot was originally set to face off against Maryna Moroz, but after Moroz bowed out of the fight Ricci jumped at the chance to show off her skills in front of a bigger UFC audience. Despite starting her pro MMA career in 2013, Ricci has only competed five times since she took a long break from fighting from 2014 to 2020.

After coming up short on the “Contender Series,” Gregory Rodrigues went on to win two in a row under the LFA banner. That was good enough to put him back on UFC’s radar and he got the call up to face Dusko Todorovic after Maki Pitoli suffered an injury. Prior to his knockout loss on the “Contender Series,” Rodrigues had won six straight. And when you couple that with his current two fight win streak, it’s easy to see why UFC didn’t forget about him. As for Todovoric, he will come in eager to get back in the win column because he suffered the only loss of his career in his last outing against Punahele Soriano.

Kamuela Kirk got the late call up to make his UFC debut against Makwan Amirkhani. Winner of two straight, Kirk — the former LFA standout — didn’t get a win on the “Contender Series,” which forced him to take more fights on the regional circuit before getting the call up. He has a huge opportunity here against Amirkhani who still has some sort of name value to him despite not having a ton of success inside the Octagon.

How The ‘Prelims’ Look:

One of the more intriguing fights on the undercard is one between Flyweight contenders Montana De La Rosa and Ariane Lipski. In her last fight, De La Rosa fought to a draw against Mayra Bueno Silva. Prior to that, she came up short against Viviane Araujo, so she needs a win here. Getting it won’t be easy because Lipski is as tough as nails, though she did go down via strikes at the hands of Antonina Shevchenko, snapping her two fight win streak. Though she has only managed a 2-3 mark so far under the UFC banner, Lipski has been game and getting a win over De La Rosa gets her the much-needed confidence she needs if she wants to make a push.

Muslim Salikhov will aim to score consecutive win number five when he takes on one of the most experienced fighters in the game today, Francisco Trinaldo, in Welterweight action. This will be fight number 22 under the UFC banner for Trinaldo, who has taken on some of the best the promotion has to offer in his near 10-year UFC career. Winning his fourth in a row here gives him his longest winning streak in six years.

Young standout Claudio Puelles has won two straight inside the Octagon after throwing up a dud in his debut. He will be taking on Jordan Leavitt, who is undefeated at 8-0 including his UFC debut against against Matt Wiman, knocking him out via slam. Also on the undercard, Youssef Zalal hopes to get a new lease on his combat life by avoiding his third straight defeat when he throws hands against Sean Woodson, who is coming off his first-ever loss at the hands of Julian Erosa.

Alan Patrick is another struggling combatant hoping to avoid the dreaded pink slip come next week after dropping his last two bouts. He hopes to right his ship against Mason Jones, who got his first bitter taste of defeat ever in his last fight — his UFC debut — against Mike Davis. Also, Makwan Amirkhani hasn’t exactly lived up to any sort of expectations some had of him so far inside the Octagon. After scoring three straight wins to kick off his UFC campaign, he has fizzled out a bit by going just 3-3 since. He is coming off a loss to Edson Barboza and is just 1-2 in his last three. He needs a win here against Kamuela Kirk to avoid drifting further away from people’s radar.

To get a deeper look at all of the undercard action click here and here.

Who Needs A Win Badly:

Ilir Latifi was once actually somewhat considered a legit threat to the 205-pound throne after starting off his UFC career with a respectable 7-3 mark. But over his last three fights “The Sledgehammer” hasn’t had the best of luck, dropping three in a row to top contenders Corey Anderson, Volkan Oezdemir and Derrick Lewis. That’s some legit competition there, but Latifi needs to get a win over Tanner Boser in what will be his second fight at Heavyweight. Boser himself is looking for a win after coming up short against Andrei Arlovksi, but he has a bit more job security at the moment if he comes up short against “The Sledgehammer.”

Interest Level: 6 out of 10

It’s not the most stacked card but it is a decent night of fights. In further main card action, Roman Dolidze hopes to get back on track after he suffered the first and only loss of his MMA career in his last outing against Trevin Giles. Standing in his way is Laureano Staropoli who is in search of a much-needed win if he wants to avoid that pink slip since he has dropped two in a row.

Also on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio will face off against Miguel Baeza in what is sure-to-be a hard-hitting and exciting Welterweight scrap. “Gente Boa” saw his seven fight win streak go out the window in his last fight after coming up short against Li Jingliang, who knocked him out in the very first round. The loss was Ponzinibbio’s first in six years, halting his hopes of a title shot for the time being. Baeza, on the other hand, has looked great since making his official UFC debut in Oct. 2019. Coming in from the “Contender Series.” Baeza has earned wins over Hector Aldana, Matt Brown and Takashi Sato, all finishes. He is an exciting young prospect and at 28 years old can make a big move in the division if he can defeat Ponzinibbio.

Tom Breese has alternated wins and losses for five years now, so things should look good for him when he takes on Antonio Arroyo since history shows he’s due for a win. But things don’t always play out that way and Breese needs to be on his “A” game because he will be facing a fighter hungry for a win. Indeed, since making his UFC debut in 2019, Arroyo has yet to get a win inside the Octagon, falling flat in his first two tries. He will need to secure a victory here if he wants to avoid the pink slip.

Enjoy the fights!

Full Fight Card:

UFC Vegas 28 Main Event On ESPN+:

265 lbs.: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai

UFC Vegas 28 Main Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):

265 lbs.: Walt Harris vs. Marcin Tybura
185 lbs.: Roman Dolidze vs. Laureano Staropoli
170 lbs.: Miguel Baeza vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
185 lbs.: Gregory Rodrigues vs. Dusko Todorovic
185 lbs.: Antonio Arroyo vs. Tom Breese

UFC Vegas 28 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):

145 lbs.: Makwan Amirkhani vs. Kamuela Kirk
125 lbs.: Montana De La Rosa vs. Ariane Lipski
265 lbs.: Tanner Boser vs. Ilir Latifi
170 lbs.: Muslim Salikhov vs. Francisco Trinaldo
155 lbs.: Mason Jones vs. Alan Patrick
125 lbs.: Manon Fiorot vs. Maryna Moroz
145 lbs.: Sean Woodson vs. Youssef Zalal
155 lbs.: Jordan Leavitt vs. Claudio Puelles

*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*

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