Jairzinho Rozenstruik enjoyed a breakout year in 2019. The heavyweight rose the ranks from relative unknown to genuine contender.

He picked up four wins throughout the year, beating Junior Albini and Allen Crowder during his first two fights in the UFC. The Brazilian then stepped up his opposition by facing MMA legend Andrei Arlovski at UFC 244 in November. Nothing changed, he once again picked up a quick KO victory. One month later he stepped in to face Alistair Overeem at UFC Washington. After five hard rounds the Rozenstruik caught Oveerm, got the finish and left his opponent nursing a nasty injury.

In 2020 he’s hoping to do even better by first beating Francis Ngannou and earning a shot at heavyweight gold. Speaking to MMA Junkie, he said. “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. So, I’m going to beat him, take his spot, and I’m going to go for the title.”

Going up against a scary knockout artist like Ngannou doesn’t seem to faze Rozenstruik at all. The 31-year-ol kickboxer claims he has been fighting and knocking out big, strong fighters his whole career, this fight will be no different.

“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.”

Can Jairzinho Rozenstruik knock out Francis Ngannou at UFC Columbus?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.