It’s not the main event of UFC 266, or even the co-feature bout on the card, but the upcoming heavyweight showdown between Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik on September 25 in Las Vegas is exactly the type of fight that proves the UFC’s heavyweight division is hotter than ever right now.
Blaydes and Rozenstruik are dangerous maulers who have both been on the cusp of fighting for UFC gold in the past only to see their title hopes go up in smoke after getting dashed by other top stars in the division.
But both Blaydes and Rozenstruik remain top contenders at heavyweight, so Blaydes vs. Rozenstruik is set to be an important divisional matchup set for the main card at UFC 266 on September 25 at T-Mobile Arena in Nevada.
UFC 266 takes place September 25 at 10 p.m. Eastern time at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The massive fight card is headlined by the long-awaited showdown between UFC featherweight champion Alex “The Great” Volkanovski and hard-charging contender Brian “T-City” Ortega. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.
In the co-main event, UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will defend her 125-pound crown against scrappy contender “Lucky” Lauren Murphy.
Other top UFC stars will also be in action at UFC 266, including popular UFC favorites Nick Diaz, Robbie Lawler, and more.
But don’t be surprised if the heavyweight rumble between Blaydes and Rozenstruik ends up being the fight that steals the show at UFC 266.
They might not be the featured attraction on a stacked card, but these two dudes can flat-out fight, and the winner should be set up nicely for a huge opportunity in the heavyweight ranks down the line.
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Heavyweight Division Heats Up at UFC 266 and Beyond
Not only is Blaydes vs. Rozenstruik a thrilling matchup between two fighters with similarly stalwart success rates, but it’s also an incredibly important fight in one of the hottest divisions in the sport.
Blaydes vs. Rozenstruik features two top contenders hoping to keep pace with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and UFC interim heavyweight champion Cyril Gane.
Adding considerable might to the top of the division is UFC superstar Jon Jones, a fighter currently ranked No. 1 on the UFC’s official pound-for-pound list and one planning to make his debut in the heavyweight ranks next year.
Other top stars in the heavyweight division include former UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, former title challenger Derrick Lewis, and lanky heavyweight destroyer Alexander Volkov.
Yes, the UFC’s heavyweight division is stacked with talent at the present, and the action should only get better as the top stars continue to duke it out for UFC heavyweight supremacy.
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Both Blaydes and Rozenstruik Seek Important Win at UFC 266
Both Blaydes and Rozenstruik have looked good enough in the past to warrant consideration for being future champions. Now, they’re both fighting to keep a foothold among the other top heavyweight stars in the sport.
Over his last six fights, Blaydes has looked dominant in four victories. While some MMA fans can’t quite seem to get behind this smash-and-grab style, the American has easily proved to be one of the heavyweight division’s top foils against all but the very hardest hitters in the sport.
Some people might not like to watch him fight, but the dude knows how to win.
Blaydes doesn’t stand and bang it out the way most heavyweights do, but he’s one of the best wrestlers in the sport. Additionally, Blaydes has been incredibly effective against just about every heavyweight he’s faced except for arguably the two hardest hitters in UFC heavyweight history, Ngannou and Lewis.
Against those deadly strikers, Blaydes was knocked out cold.
Meanwhile, Rozenstruik is a heavy-handed kickboxer who has enjoyed a similar type of success. Rozenstruik has looked excellent against everyone except Ngannou and Gane.
Did I mention those guys both have title belts right now?
Sure, Rozenstruik was obliterated in just one round by Ngannou, and he was outpointed over three rounds by the pristine striking skills of Gane.
But he’s looked like a real winner in the rest of his UFC fights, and he’s sure to have learned something from his setbacks.
So both Blaydes and Rozenstruik are fighters who have already proven themselves to be among the very best contenders in the division, and a win by one over the other will only increase the victor’s standing.
One of them will need to win at UFC 266 to make his case for climbing up back toward a title shot, but the winner of Blaydes and Rozenstruik will for sure be in prime position to grab a big fight against one of the top heavyweight stars in the future.
With names like Ngannou, Gane, Jones, and Miocic among the most popular stars, the win could also turn out to be quite lucrative.
UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega on Sept. 25
UFC 266: Volkanovski vs. Ortega is a stacked card with two title fights and three other important divisional battles.
You can see in the list below the fights currently scheduled to happen at UFC 266 on September 25.
Main Card (PPV)*
Alexander Volkanovski (c) vs. Brian Ortega, UFC featherweight championship
Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Lauren Murphy, UFC women’s flyweight championship
Robbie Lawler vs. Nick Diaz, welterweights
Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik, heavyweights
Jessica Andrade vs. Cynthia Calvillo, women’s flyweights
Prelims and Early Prelims (ESPN+, UFC Fight Pass)*
Marlon Moraes vs. Merab Dvalishvili, bantamweights
Dan Hooker vs. Nasrat Haqparast, lightweights
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Chris Daukaus, heavyweights
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Taila Santos, women’s flyweights
Ricky Simon vs. Timur Valiev, bantamweights
Uros Medic vs. Jalin Turner, lightweights
Manon Fiorot vs. Mayra Bueno Silva, women’s flyweights
Karl Roberson vs. Nick Maximov, middleweight
Matthew Semelsberger vs. Martin Sano, welterweight
*card subject to change
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