Pre-fight Discussion UFC FN Rozenstruick v. Gaziev, Sat. 3/2, Prelims 1:30 PM ET, Main card 4:00 PM ESPN+

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    Votes: 14 42.4%

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This Saturday the UFC returns to the Apex in Las Vegas for Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Gaziev. Featuring a heavyweight bout that seems lackluster for a main event. Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised. That doesn't overshadow there's cool bouts throughout the card, including fighters whose names end with a V.

Note the early start time: 1:30 PM ET!

Oh look - they rescheduled Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Ricky Turcios. It was supposed to take place in Mexico City but Rosas withdrew that day. Looking forward to this fight.

What fights are you anticipating? Share your thoughts, previews, predictions. Please keep it civil.

Be sure to check here throughout the week for more content.

Enjoy!

Saturday 03.02.2024 at 01:30 PM ET
U.S. Broadcast: ESPN+
Promotion: Ultimate Fighting Championship
Ownership: Endeavor
Venue: UFC Apex
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Enclosure: Octagon
MMA Bouts: 10

UFC Fight Night


UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Gaziev​

March 2, 2024
UFC APEX, Las Vegas, NV
Main Card ESPN+ 4pm ET
Prelims ESPN+ 1:30pm ET

Main Card
Heavyweight - Main Event
J. Rozenstruik 13-5-0 vs. S. Gaziev 12-0-0
V. Petrino 10-0-0 vs. T. Pedro 10-4-0
A. Perez 24-7-0 Vs. M. Mokaev 11-0-0
E. Anders 15-8-0 Vs. J. Pickett 13-10-0
U. Nurmagomedov 16-0-0 vs. B. Almakhan 17-1-0
M. Schnell 16-7-0 Vs. S. Erceg 11-1-0
R. Rosas Jr. 8-1-0 Vs. R. Turcios 13-3-0
Prelims
J. Alvarez 20-3-0 vs. L. Klein 20-4-1
A. Zahabi 10-2-0 vs. J. Basharat 14-0-0
C. Duncan 9-1-0 Vs. C. Ribeiro 11-4-0
V. Oliveira 19-3-0 vs. Y. Ghemmouri 12-2-0
A. Al-Selwady 15-3-0 vs. L. Radzhabov 17-5-1

The best in the biz are back for a preview.

Shillan and Duffy: UFC Fight Night 238 Preview​

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BEN DUFFY KEITH SHILLAN FEB 26, 2024COMMENTS
Keith and Ben preview UFC Fight Night 238, with detailed predictions and picks for all 11 fights. This one is pretty lean and mean, just like the card itself, but among the side conversations, Keith decided to go after the world's No. 1 sport really hard. It is a mystery.

0:00 Intro: The insecurity of the big guy
8:10 Loik Radzhabov (17-5-1) vs. Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady (15-3)
17:15 Vinicius de Oliveira (19-3) vs. Yanis Ghemmouri (12-2)
26:53 Christian Leroy Duncan (9-1) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (11-4)
35:11 Aiemann Zahabi (10-2) vs. Javid Basharat (14-0, 1 NC)
47:45 Raul Rosas Jr. (8-1) vs. Ricky Turcios (12-3)
1:06:58 Matt Schnell (16-7, 1 NC) vs. Steve Erceg (11-1)
1:16:08 Umar Nurmagomedov (16-0) vs. Bekzat Almakhan (14-1)
1:26:17 Eryk Anders (15-8, 1 NC) vs. Jamie Pickett (13-10)
1:40:04 Alex Perez (24-7) vs. Muhammad Mokaev (11-0, 1 NC)
1:51:13 Vitor Petrino (10-0) vs. Tyson Pedro (10-4)
1:57:55 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (13-5) vs. Shamil Gaziev (12-0)
2:07:28 A quick rundown of all the picks

 
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Following two successful spectator-fueled outings—a pay-per-view spectacle and the recently concluded event in Mexico City—the Ultimate Fighting Championship heads back to the routine setting of the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. UFC Fight Night 238 on Saturday features a stacked fight card headlined by a fascinating heavyweight tilt.

The event sees several preliminary card pairings that have explosive potential and “Fight of the Night” upside, while the main card is flush with matchups no one afford to miss. The top billing presents a clash between No.12-ranked heavyweight contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik and undefeated upstart Shamil Gaziev looking to make a statement as they make the walk for the first time in 2024.


Rozenstruik looks to kick off his 2024 campaign with the objective of securing a highlight-reel finish or dominant performance. A dynamic kickboxer who hits like a freight train, “Bigi Boy” has secured exciting knockout wins against legends like Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem and Andrei Arlovski.

Rozenstruik now aims to hold the fort in the rankings by stopping Gaziev in emphatic fashion. Ahead of his clash, we examine five of the defining moments that have shaped his career to this point:

1. Planted in Combat​


Rozenstruik grew up in Suriname, a small country on the northeastern coast of South America, where soccer and basketball were culturally embraced sports. “Bigi Boy” stood out because of his size, which led a coach to recommend getting in some combat training from a nearby kickboxing gym. A young Rozenstruik began training in a gym called Rens Project and soon was discovered by Michael Babb, a coach from the Vos Gym in Amsterdam. Under Babb’s tutelage, he came out for the House of Legends molded under the guidance of Ivan Hippolyte. Rozenstruik embarked on his sporting journey with kickboxing. He competed in 85 bouts and prevailing in 76 of them, 64 by knockout.

2. Spectacular Rise in MMA​


It is rare for fresh faces in the UFC heavyweight division to slip under the radar, but Rozenstruik’s case is one of the rare exceptions. He started his professional mixed martial arts journey in May 2012, recording six straight victories, with five emphatic finishes, before he signed with the UFC. However, his debut fight against Junior Albini back in February 2019 went largely unnoticed since he signed discreetly with the organization. Nevertheless, the low-key debut belied the explosive talent that would send a ripple through the MMA community. Following the debut, he racked up three more explosive victories, cracking skulls, turning heads and drawing crowds. While victories over Allen Crowder and the aforementioned Arlovski put the heavyweight division on notice, it was his fifth-round knockout of a former title challenger in Overeem that punctuated his veritable talent.

3. Flipping the Script​


In any combat sport, knockout stories unfold with the potential for glory or downfall, with fighters emerging either as the victor or the vanquished. Rozenstruik’s excellent run in 2019 propelled him to within touching distance of a championship opportunity. However, future UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou had other plans. Ngannou sent Rozenstruik crashing to the canvas twenty seconds into their matchup at UFC 249. Having handed Rozenstruik the first defeat of his career, Ngannou went on to challenge Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight throne in a rematch at UFC 260. He won the fight by second-round knockout. With this loss, Rozenstruik set foot on a rugged path, marked by several crests and troughs.

4. Redemption Road​


The true character of a fighter shines through when he bounces back with strength after a loss. Following a devastating loss to Ngannou, the 35-year-old Rozenstruik locked horns with a former UFC heavyweight champion in dos Santos at ufc 252. He responded in the best way possible, scoring a second-round TKO victory, courtesy of a left hand to the jaw, followed by a huge right, which dropped his opponent to the mat.

5. Making Bank​


Following the victory over dos Santos, Rozenstruik endured four losses and emerged triumphant in two bouts in six Octagon outings. While the dominance of “Bigi Boy” has certainly diminished in stature, he has been able to record two “Performance of the Night”-worthy finishes over Augusto Sakai and Chris Daukaus. At UFC Fight Night 189, he won the fight against Sakai via TKO in the closing seconds of the first round. The next victory against Daukaus came merely 23 seconds into the first round. Vintage Rozenstruik was on display in that fight, as the Surinamese kickboxer connected with a left jab and followed up with a knee to the face that dropped his opponent. Determined to finish his adversary, Rozenstruik unleashed a barrage of strikes on Daukaus, forcing the stoppage.
 


An old saying reads, “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” The solitary basis for bringing that to light is precisely because it depicts the journey of Muhammad Mokaev, a 23-year-old prospect hailing from Dagestan.

“The Punisher” came to the Ultimate Fighting Championship with a track record that commanded reverence. Part of the intrigue had to do with the glow of past accomplishments, including a stellar 23-0 amateur record and two International Mixed Martial Arts Federation titles. He was also undefeated in six professional fights before he signed with the world’s premier MMA organization. Another factor that added to the intrigue can also be traced to his background. Beyond the accolades, Mokaev’s story is one of courage and resilience, tracing back to the rugged landscapes of Dagestan.


As Mokaev prepares to take on Alex Perez in a UFC Fight Night 238 flyweight attraction, here are five things you might not know about him:

1. He was forged from fire and steel.​


Mokaev was born in the poverty-ridden town of Buynaksk, Russia. After the tragic passing of his mother, 12-year-old Mokaev and his father made the journey to England because of his father’s political issues with the homeland. They were placed in a refugee camp in Liverpool upon their arrival and were given a little more than $6 a day with which to sustain themselves. Despite the challenges they faced, they remained undeterred, eventually settling in Wigan, where they began to rebuild their lives. It was around 2013 when Mokaev rekindled his passion for wrestling at the Manchester Wrestling Club. Pursuing active competition in wrestling came next and so did the accolades. He is a two-time British Championships medalist and an English Nationals champion. At the junior level, he is a four-time British champion, winning the tournament from 2014-17. Subsequently, Mokaev picked up Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission wrestling, becoming a two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club UK gold medalist in the intermediate division.

2. Battling odds became one of his specialties.​


Back in the United Kingdom, Mokaev had to bridge a lot of generational and cultural gaps growing up. This contributed to Mokaev’s trouble-laden school years, where he found himself embroiled in occasional fights. However, Mokaev emphasizes that these altercations were not entirely rooted in racial tensions but rather stemmed from his own mentality. Reflecting on his past, Mokaev recognizes that his propensity for conflict stemmed from psychological factors and a need to channel energy into something meaningful. He found that calling in training, and there was no looking back.

3. He has turned setbacks into new ventures.​


Mokaev began competing in amateur MMA in 2015, partly by choice and partly by chance. At that time, athletes with refugee status were unable to travel and compete in international wrestling tournaments. Mokaev sought new avenues to showcase his athletic abilities and pursue his passion for combat sports. MMA offered him an opportunity to test his skills in a competitive arena and provided a platform where his refugee status would not hinder his participation. He went on to compete predominantly on the European circuit before spreading his wings to Bahrain and Australia. In doing so, he was hardened by experience, amassing 23 victories in his amateur career and capturing multiple championships.

4. Interests outside of competition vie for his time.​


Mokaev revealed in an interview with UFC.com that he pursued studies in business. While his academic journey laid a foundation, there is not much information about it. The Dagestani also found himself in various roles to make ends meet, including distributing leaflets. These experiences, though humbling, served as a testament to his work ethic and resourcefulness.

5. He has post-MMA plans.​


Mokaev is not in the sport for the long haul. Ahead of his fight against Charles Johnson in 2022, Mokaev reflected on his MMA career’s longevity. The Dagestan-born fighter stated that he wants a life outside MMA. While he acknowledges that he loves training and competing, his contemplation extends deeper. Mokaev candidly shared several factors that pushed him into the consideration of a finite fighting career. These factors are rooted in religious beliefs and a yearning for family time. The way he sees it, he does not want to linger around as he is gradually becoming more and more family-oriented. Instead of solely pursuing athletic glory, Mokaev prioritizes holistic fulfillment. He also highlighted prohibition against fighting in Islam and a growing sense of inner conflict that continued pursuits may run counter to his spiritual beliefs.
 

UFC Fight Night 238 Undergoes Multiple Changes, Turcios vs. Rosas Jr. Removed​

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TRISTEN CRITCHFIELD FEB 27, 2024 COMMENTS

This weekend’s UFC Fight Night 238 card will look different than originally anticipated.First, a bantamweight showdown between Ricky Turcios and Raul Rosas Jr. will not move to Saturday’s event as it was initially announced over the weekend. Turcios and Rosas Jr. were supposed to meet at UFC Mexico this past Saturday but the bout was scrapped prior to walkouts on account of Rosas Jr. falling ill.

The promotion later announced that the bout would be rebooked for UFC Fight Night 238, but Turcios disputed that news on social media. Now, the fight is officially off, and it is unclear if it will be rebooked at a later date. MMAjunkie.com was first to report that Turcios vs. Rosas Jr. was not happening.

The Las Vegas-based organzation also confirmed multiple other changes to the UFC Fight Night 238 lineup on Tuesday.

Injury has forced Brendon Marotte to withdraw from a featherweight scrap against Mohammad Yahya, and as a result the fight has been canceled. The same is also true for Josefine Lindgren Knutsson, who was removed from a proposed strawweight pairing against Julia Polastri. However, Polastri will now step in for the injuredShauna Bannon and face Stephanie Luciano at UFC on ESPN 53 on March 23.

Meanwhile, Benardo Sopai will replace the injured Yanis Ghemmouri and meet Vinicius de Oliveira at bantamweight. Finally, visa issues have forced Joel Alvarez out of a clash against Ludovit Klein. Instead, A.J. Cunningham will face Klein in a new lightweight booking on Saturday.

UFC Fight Night 238 takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and is headlined by a heavyweight showdown pitting Jairzinho Rozenstruik against Shamil Gamziev.

 
I'm not being hyperbolic when I say this may be the single worst UFC card, free or PPV, I've ever seen on paper.
 

Preview: UFC Fight Night 238 Prelims​

Anders vs. Pickett​

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TOM FEELY FEB 28, 2024 COMMENTS

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s latest stopover at the UFC Apex sees a decent slate of prelims on Saturday in Las Vegas. Eryk Anders and Ludovit Klein are featured in the top two UFC Fight Night 238 bouts, and after some obvious improvements in recent affairs, they each get potential showcases against overmatched competition. Meanwhile, a clash between Aiemann Zahabi and Javid Basharat pairs two surging bantamweights, and a middleweight fight matching Christian Leroy Duncan with Claudio Ribeiro should be entertaining. Add in two Dana White’s Contender Series standouts getting some intriguing fights in their UFC debuts—bantamweight Vinicius de Oliveira against fellow newcomer Bernardo Sopai, and Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady against lightweight vet Loik Radzhabov—and there appears to be something for everyone.

Now to the preview for the UFC Fight Night 238 prelims:

Middleweights​

Eryk Anders (15-8, 7-8 UFC) vs. Jamie Pickett (13-10, 2-6 UFC)

ODDS: Anders (-425), Pickett (+330)

It feels funny to say this about a fighter who was headlining cards six years ago, but Anders seems to be hitting a new level. Anders showed some potential as a raw prospect upon hitting the UFC in 2017 but got thrown into the deep end the next year for main events against Lyoto Machida and Thiago Santos, mostly owing to his built-in fanbase as a former standout linebacker for the University of Alabama. After those losses, Anders chugged along as part of the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions with a combination of uninspiring wins and frustrating losses. Anders’ physicality and toughness meant he always hung around in his fights, but he fought behind a plodding and low-output style that mostly sucked the life out of the proceedings. However, with his 2022 fight against Jun Yong Park—a controversial split decision loss—Anders started showing the flashes of a much more functional approach, upping the pace a bit with some more fluid striking. While those improvements have not yielded much in the way of results yet, Anders looks to finally be reaching his peak as an effective fighter. With that background, this fight against Pickett seems clearly set up for an Anders win. It is honestly a bit surprising to see that Pickett is still with the UFC after four straight losses. Pickett was a frustrating fighter even during his rise as a prospect, as he combined plenty of physical and athletic talent with an unwillingness to pull the trigger. Pickett seemed to turn the corner a bit as an absolute grinder with a two-fight winning streak that bridged 2021 to 2022, but his last four fights have seen him get outworked and look uncomfortable. Pickett does not even have his usual physical advantages to lean on, so it is hard to see this as anything other than one-way traffic. The pick is Anders via second-round stoppage.

Jump To »
Anders vs. Pickett
Klein vs. Cunningham
Basharat vs. Zahabi
Duncan vs. Ribeiro
De Oliveira vs. Sopai
Al-Sewady vs. Radzhabov

 
Current lineup

Main Card
ESPN+ 4pm ET
Prelims
ESPN+1:30pm ET

Main Card
Heavyweight - Main Event
Jairzinho Rozenstruik 13-5-0 vs. Shamil Gaziev 12-0-0
Vitor Petrino 10-0-0 vs. Tyson Pedro 10-4-0
Alex Perez 24-7-0 vs. Muhammad Mokaev
Umar Nurmagomedov 16-0-0 vs. Bekzat Almakhan 17-1-0
Matt Schnell 16-7-0 vs. Steve Erceg 11-1-0
Prelims
Eryk Anders 15-8-0 vs. Jamie Pickett 13-10-0
Vinicius Oliveira 19-3-0 vs. Bernardo Sopaj 11-2-0
Aiemann Zahabi 10-2-0 vs. Javid Basharat 14-0-0
Christian Leroy Duncan 9-1-0 vs. Claudio Ribeiro 11-4-0
Ludovit Kleiin 20-4-1 vs. AJ Cunningham 10-3-0
Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady 15-3-0 vs. Loik Radzhabov 17-5-1

 

Preview: UFC Fight Night 238 ‘Rozenstruik vs. Gaziev’​

Rozenstruik vs. Gaziev​

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TOM FEELY FEB 29, 2024 COMMENTS

The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday will return to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas for a one-week pitstop with a show that has seen its fair share of troubles. Initially slated as the company’s debut in Saudia Arabia, UFC Fight Night 238 was apparently deemed unfit for that status and wound up back in the United States. While the battle between Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Shamil Gaziev may be stretched thin as a headliner, its support on the main draw should at least make for an enjoyable viewing experience. It looks to be a big night for the UFC’s flyweight division, as uber-prospect Muhammad Mokaev tries to rise to title contention with a win over Alex Perez, and Steve Erceg attempts to prove that his breakout 2023 campaign was for real with a victory over Matt Schnell. Beyond that, the light heavyweight co-main event between Vitor Petrino and Tyson Pedro promises violence. Add in a bantamweight showcase for Umar Nurmagomedov, and it becomes a tight five-fight offering.

Now to the UFC Fight Night 238 “Rozenstruik vs. Gaziev” preview:

#12 HW | Jairzinho Rozenstruik (13-5, 7-5 UFC) vs. Shamil Gaziev (12-0, 1-0 UFC)

ODDS: Gaziev (-148), Rozenstruik (+124)

This is clearly an instance where the UFC once again put heavyweights in the headlining spot by default, but it is a fun fight that serves as a potential breakout for Gaziev. Born in Dagestan and representing Bahrain, Gaziev scored a quick win on Dana White’s Contender Series in September, which fit in with most of his career. With one exception, Gaziev has gotten most of his work done via quick finish. Gaziev’s lone fight to go the distance, a split decision victory in 2022, showed some cause for concern going forward. Gaziev looked absolutely exhausted and was lucky his opponent was in similar form, but an impressive UFC debut also suggests that might not matter at the moment. Gaziev looked in the sharpest form of his career while putting away Martin Buday; and while the second-round finish did seem to come at the limits of Gaziev’s gas tank, taking apart a heavyweight as historically durable as Buday is a strong omen. Given that Gaziev is already 34 years old and with the heavyweight division’s constant need for new talent, it is not a shock to see him get rushed into a fight against Rozenstruik, who has settled in as the gatekeeper to the heavyweight elite.

Suriname’s “Bigi Boy” was one of the UFC’s breakout fighters in 2019, starting the year outside of the promotion before charging up the ladder with four straight wins over the course of 10 months to get into title contention. The last of those wins, a knockout of Alistair Overeem, showed the pros and cons of Rozenstruik’s counter-heavy striking style quite clearly. Rozenstruik was overly patient and got little done for the better part of 24 minutes, only to suddenly spring into action and close the show in the closing seconds of the fifth round. That limited but dangerous game has mostly led to his trading wins and losses with the Top 10 of the division, and this fight is essentially a coinflip that puts Rozenstruik’s usual dynamic on display. Gaziev has enough wrestling to take advantage of Rozenstruik’s subpar skills on the mat—and likely score a submission before the Russian tires out—but there is a decent chance he gets absolutely blasted while marching in to try and do so. The read is that Gaziev is too slow and defensively lax to stay safe here, though this should be over quickly in one-sided fashion no matter who wins. The pick is Rozenstruik via first-round knockout.

Continue Reading »
Rozenstruik vs. Gaziev
Petrino vs. Pedro
Mokaev vs. Perez
Nurmagomedov vs. Almakhan
Erceg vs. Schnell
The Prelims
 
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