UFC 249, Francis Ngannou
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While the COVID-19 pandemic sidelines other sports, the UFC is back and about to deliver the kind of excitement it knows fans deserve with UFC 249. Saturday’s main card event will feature thrilling heavyweight fights between some of UFC’s best fighters. It all starts at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and we’re excited to preview one of the best bouts between two incredible heavyweights.

UFC 249: Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik odds

What do you get when two unstoppable forces clash? A heavyweight bout between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Ngannou, the No. 2 heavyweight fighter, will be looking to knockout Rozenstruik and snap his undefeated professional record.

While Rozenstruik (10-0) will enter the Octagon with a perfect record, he will be the underdog in this clash of the titans. Ngannou (13-3) is coming off an incredible stretch dominating his opponents in the ring and delivering bone-crunching punches that routinely knock out his competitors.

As the latest odds from Bovada show, UFC fans are loving Ngannou’s chances.

  • Francis Ngannou: -280
  • Jairzinho Rozenstruik: +220

Not only does everyone think Ngannou will win, but the odds show UFC fans should expect a quick and humbling exit for Rozenstruik.

  • Fight goes the distance: +230
  • Fight won’t go the distance: -350

Francis Ngannou: ‘The Predator’ is snatching souls

Ngannou (13-3) lives up to his nickname as an absolute monster in the Octagon. Standing at 6-foot-4 with an 83-inch reach, the 33-year-old packs one of the most powerful punches in UFC. While it’s been nearly a year since his last heavyweight bout, Ngannou proved to everyone he is at the top of his game with a first-round TKO of Junior Dos Santos.

When Ngannou is at its best, landing his kicks and delivering eye-popping punches, he can knock out any fighter in a matter of minutes. We also know how badly Ngannou wants to get back in the Octagon after this fight with Rozenstruik was rescheduled after the pandemic hit in March.

Ngannou will recognize this opportunity to put himself in the hunt for the heavyweight title. A knockout of Rozenstruik would almost certainly guarantee a bout against Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title. A rematch against UFC’s reigning heavyweight champion, who Ngannou lost to in the 2018 UFC Heavyweight Championship, would be the perfect shot at revenge.

Of course, Ngannou will need to do something that no MMA fighter has ever achieved.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik: ‘Bigi Boy’ doesn’t lose

There’s a certain level of confidence a fighter has when they are undefeated. While it’s not always earned, Rozenstruik has good reason to proclaim he will win this fight emphatically. After spending the early years of his fighting career dominating in kickboxing, Rozenstruik ‘s transition to MMA has simply been perfect.

After knocking out the likes of Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem within a two-month span in 2019, Rozenstruik set his sights on Ngannou. While it’s often said we learn the most from our failures, the 32-year-old isn’t familiar with the feeling. He’s won 90% of his fights by knockout.

Rozenstruik knows that while he might be the underdog, he can win this fight through endurance and counter strikes. If he can pull it off, there won’t be anyone sleeping on him.

Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik: Notable quotes ahead of UFC 249

Ngannou and Rozenstruik started counting down the days until this bout even before it was postponed. Now that it’s drawing closer, both fighters are speaking out before they enter the Octagon.

Rozenstruik has done most of the talking in the weeks leading up to the fight, even suggesting UFC raise the stakes and put an interim title belt on the line.

It’s not surprising to see Rozenstruik suggest this bout comes with even greater significance given his confidence heading in. When you’re willing to blast your opponent’s reputation and suggesting he is overrated, you want to maximize your shot at a title.

Ngannou has largely held a quiet confidence for this fight, focusing on sharing the challenges that come with preparing for a heavyweight bout in isolation. He did vow to knockout Rozenstruik and has been counting down the days to the moment.

Both of these fighters plan to provide UFC fans with a thrilling and quick fight. The question becomes, which of them will deliver on their promise.

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UFC 249: Francis Ngannou vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik prediction

Both fighters possess incredible size and the kind of powerful punch that might stop a moving train. Ngannou does have a five-inch advantage with his reach and carries a few more pounds of muscle than Rozenstruik. However, Rozenstruik’s endurance and counter-strike ability could be pivotal.

We’re keeping an eye on Rozenstruik’s counter moves whenever he gets a shot. Given being aggressive isn’t a part of his game, he likely won’t be looking to bring the fight to Ngannou. Instead, he’ll need to defend his punches, buy time and strike when clear windows are open to deliver a strike.

If he lands with enough power or can take this bout past the first round, the odds will swing in Rozenstruik’s favor. From that point, we could see him display the skills he mastered in kickboxing and take Ngannou down with a TKO.

Yet, this bout comes at the right time for Ngannou and the matchup is ideal. When you’ve got the kind of power Ngannou packs in his punches, you’re more willing to attack. He doesn’t have to worry as much about Rozenstruik’s defense or being taken to the ground. Given the advantage in power, length and even mindset, Nganou is set up well to deliver on his promise.

Prediction: Francis Ngannou wins with a TKO in Round 1

Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick