For the second week in a row, a UFC Fight Night card will be headlined by a heavyweight matchup that could produce a future title contender. Rising prospect Ciryl Gane is facing Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and both fighters have combined to produce an 18-1 record.
This is also the second week in a row that a heavyweight main event will take place at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, which is notable because the cage is smaller. The smaller cage particularly stands out during heavyweight fights because there is less space for these big-bodied fighters to maneuver, which makes distance management more challenging.
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Notable DraftKings Sportsbook betting odds
- Ciryl Gane By KO, TKO or DQ (+150)
- Ciryl Gane By Decision (+275)
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik By KO, TKO or DQ (+275)
- Ciryl Gane By Submission (+450)
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik By Decision (+1100)
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik By Submission (+2500)
- Tie (+8000)
Ciryl Gane is an elite prospect that has produced sparkling metrics through four UFC fights. The first thing that jumps out is Gane’s significant strikes landed to significant strikes absorbed ratio. Gane has landed nearly three times more significant strikes than he has absorbed, landing close to six significant strikes per minute while absorbing just under two significant strikes per minute. Gane’s ability to evade significant strikes is also supported by his rate stats, as he has avoided an elite 73% of opponent significant strike attempts, which would rank near the top of the all-time UFC leaderboard had Gane qualified.
Gane’s appeal extends beyond his numbers. Gane is a chiseled 6’4”, 245 pounds with excellent athleticism by the standards of the heavyweight division. He is lengthy and uses his size well, and he uses his length to manage distance to produce strong defense. Gane often positions himself just outside of his opponent’s reach, which helps him avoid significant strike attempts and has contributed to his elite 73% striking defense number.
Gane also uses his length well offensively, particularly through his leg kicks. Gane’s leg-kicking game was on display in his most recent fight against Junior dos Santos, where 29 of the 59 significant strikes he landed were to the legs. Gane will also go high with his kicks and attack head kicks once he softens up the lower body. Gane’s leg-kicking game is a safe way to attack offensively because he is able to land strikes outside of his opponent’s punching range.
Gane’s striking game is very well-rounded, featuring an assortment of kicks, knees, elbows and punches that land to the legs, body and head. Gane’s kickboxing skill and athleticism really stands out at heavyweight, a division that can often feature sloppy brawls between fighters who aren’t particularly skilled or athletic.
Gane’s biggest strength is his kickboxing, but he will attempt submissions when the opportunity presents itself. Gane has finished two of his four UFC fights by submission and has finished each of his two submission attempts. Gane’s most recent submission was a heel hook, which is not a technique you see finished very often in the UFC.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik is also a striker, and this matchup looks primed to primarily be a kickboxing match. Rozenstruik’s striking metrics are not nearly as strong as Gane’s, although he has fought stronger competition. Rozenstruik has landed about four significant strikes per minute and absorbed about three significant strikes per minute, a ratio worse than Gane’s. Rozenstruik’s significant strike defense on a rate basis particularly stands out as poor, as he has avoided just 36% of opponent significant strike attempts, far below Gane’s rate of 73%. Rozenstruik has not attempted a single takedown in any of his six UFC fights, so look for this fight to mostly stay on the feet.
There are a few ways to attack Gane based on his style that could be effective. The first is pressure on the feet, which would keep Gane retreating on his back foot and make it difficult for him to use his kicking game. The second is chain wrestling, which would help diminish the effectiveness of his kickboxing and leg kicks, because throwing leg kicks leaves a fighter more susceptible to takedowns due to being off-balanced combined with extending the leg.
Rozenstruik doesn’t fit either of these descriptions, as he is more of a counter striker who has not landed a single takedown in six UFC fights and hasn’t even recorded a takedown attempt. Rozenstruik’s style could play into Gane’s strengths and keep the fight in a spot that is best designed for Gane to excel in.
The smaller cage combined with the striking power between the two fighters makes a finish the most likely outcome, especially since the fight has to complete five full rounds to go the distance rather than three. DraftKings Sportsbook has the fight at -286 to not go the distance. However, Gane’s technical, methodical approach combined with Rozenstruik’s counter striking could result in a more prolonged kickboxing match, which makes Gane By Decision (+275) or To Go the Distance: Yes (+205) potential betting options for a plus return. Rozenstruik nearly went five full rounds with Alistair Overeem before a miracle TKO finish happened five seconds before the end of the fifth round, so Rozenstruik has displayed the stamina to fight five full rounds.
While Gane is the rightful favorite in a good matchup, Rozenstruik is very much a live underdog. The smaller cage at the UFC APEX combined with the power of the heavyweight division makes Rozenstruik a dangerous opponent and a threat to score a TKO/KO win (+275). Gane is elite at protecting his chin through distance management, but he does not really protect his chin with his hands, which could leave him exposed to a power shot if Rozenstruik is able to get inside his punching range. Rozenstruik has the striking power to finish fights, as all five of his UFC wins have been by KO/TKO.
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