After taking a week off from staging an event, the UFC returns on June 5th as Rozenstruik vs. Sakai takes centre stage with an impressive slate of fights at the Apex Center in Las Vegas. As always, the fighters bring compelling storylines and big aspirations with them into the octagon. This should be an entertaining evening for fight fans. Let’s get into it!
Tom Breese vs. Antonio Arroyo
Antonio Arroyo emerged as the winner of Dana White’s contender series back in July of 2019. Since then, he hasn’t been a very active fighter. While initially hailed as the latest elite prospect out of Brazil, his two losses against top competition have changed that narrative. He suffered unanimous decision defeats in November of 2019 and December of 2020. His match against Tom Breese on June 5th will be his first fight of 2021.
Tom Breese has lost three of his last five fights, including a 2nd round submission in January of this year. He desperately needs to get back in the win column if he’s ever going to get a shot at the middleweight belt. Breese made his UFC debut in May of 2015 and he’s yet to fight for the title. At 29 years old, he’s still got some great years as an athlete ahead of him but he must capitalize on this opportunity if he doesn’t want his prime years to go to waste.
Dusko Todorovic vs. Gregory Rodrigues
Gregory Rodrigues has been a very busy man in 2021. He has appeared on two cards for Legacy Fighting Alliance, winning one bout in March and another in May. While he is yet to make his official UFC debut, he is familiar with Dana White’s organization; he lost during his appearance on the contender series in September of 2020. After two impressive outings in a rival organization, Rodrigues finds himself on the main card of the most notorious MMA organization in the world.
Dusko Todorovic suffered the first loss of his career in a first-round TKO in January of this year. Now, he must put that ugly setback behind him and focus on the task at hand. If he’s able to emerge victorious, he will once again be viewed as one of the best young prospects in the sport. If he doesn’t, he’ll have to go back to the drawing board and figure out where to go from here.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza
Without question, these two warriors enter the octagon with two of the best nicknames in the sport. Santiago Ponzinibbio carries the moniker “Argentine Dagger,” while Miguel Baeza is known as “Caramel Thunder.” If their match lives up to their nicknames, they will easily walk away with “Fight of the Night” honors.
Ponzinibbio is six years older than Baeza and enters the bout with 22 more fights under his belt. That’s a huge experience advantage, which he is certainly looking to exploit in their matchup. Unfortunately, the last time fight fans saw him in the octagon Ponzinibbio was on the losing end of a first round knockout. Baeza is undefeated with just ten professional fights under his belt but he hasn’t competed at all in 2021. The long layoff may have affected his timing. It will be interesting to see if youth and an extended break from competition can overcome experience and savvy.
Roman Dolidze vs. Laureano Staropoli
Laureano Staropoli has lost each of his last two bouts by unanimous decision. Roman Dolidze suffered the first loss of his career in a unanimous decision defeat in March of this year. Both of these men will be hungry to get back in the win column.
Roman Dolidze was once seen as one of the best fútbol prospects in Ukraine; he was a highly touted goalie before deciding mixed martial arts was his sport of choice. Laureano Staropoli once trained in his spare time while juggling the responsibilities of being a police officer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Each of these men has taken a unique path to the octagon but each of them enters the match with one thing in mind: winning. This has the makings of a very entertaining bout.
Walt Harris vs. Marcin Tybura
Before knocking out Greg Hardy in the 2nd round of their fight in December of 2020, Marcin Tybura had been heavily criticized for being one of the most boring heavyweights in UFC. He’d won most of his fights by decision and there was a feeling that he was okay with trying to outpoint his opponents instead of using his tremendous size and power. However, after his exciting finish in December, fans want to see if he can keep up the momentum. If so, he has a shot at moving up in the rankings and getting his first shot at the title.
Walt Harris has lost each of his last two fights and has never been able to put together an impressive string of fights since joining UFC in November of 2014. He is 37 years old and it seems he knows the end of his career is approaching. Last year, he ran for city council in his home town but was unsuccessful in his campaign. It appears he is competing to make a final impression before he moves on to the next chapter of his life.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai
Each of these men lost their last fight. Neither of these men has ever fought for the UFC heavyweight title. If that dream is ever going to become a reality, they must seize the moment with impressive performances.
Rozenstruik fought reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in May of last year. At that time, Ngannou was not yet the champion and Rozenstruik was seen as a potential contender. However, he was severely outclassed in the octagon that night and has struggled to remain relevant since that day. If he’s going to get back into serious contention, it will have to start with a win on June 5th.
Augusto Sakai hasn’t been seen in the octagon since September of 2020. It will be interesting to see how the long layoff has affected his timing. He’s only 30 years old; if he gets back in the win column he has a lot of time to turn his career around. However, another loss will put him even further away from his goal of one day contending for the heavyweight title.
This week’s UFC event can be viewed on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. Fight fans should make sure to tune in; it should be entertaining as always!