Live from The Apex in Las Vegas, UFC was back after a rare week off.
The card was book-ended by TKOs in the main card opener, and co-main events.
Heavyweights fight to an early finish
“Bigi Boy” Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2) was the night’s big winner as he ended Augusto Sakai’s (15-3-1) night just before the round one horn.
The two big men scarcely exchanged shots in the first, before both had thoughts of scoring last-second points.
Rozenstruik connected from distance with a quick combo that dropped and bloodied Sakai just before the horn sounded.
It was a needed win for the “Bigi Boy” after an underwhelming loss to Cyril Gane in his last fight. He didn’t get to showcase much, but he reminded us of his knockout power.
The co-main event of Walt Harris (13-10) and Marcin Tybura (22-6) led the dance in not going the distance.
Tybura won by TKO in the second round with relentless punches coming down while mounting Harris’ back.
It was a disappointing result for Harris, who suffered his third consecutive loss.
Harris had Tybura rocked immediately before being taken down. From there, he never gained a favorable position and the end was near.
This is the fifth win in a row for the Polish Tybura. Defeating a ranked opponent is a good way to follow up his 2020 victory over Greg Hardy.
Ponzinibbio earns first win in 2 years
Santiago Ponzinibio (29-4) earned a hard fought victory against the undefeated-no-more Miguel Baeza (10-1) via 29-28 unanimous decision.
The two fighters stood the entire fight, submitting a fight-of-the-year candidate in the process.
Baeza, the favorite, established a stiff leg kick early on while Ponzinibbio was head-hunting. It appeared the leg kicks were taking their toll, but Ponzinibbio never backed down.
Overall, his success in landing strikes to the head won him two rounds. He also returned fire with leg kicks that left Baez on wobbly legs, closing the gap in that regard.
This is a scenario where no fighter emerged a loser. Ponzinibbio will earn a fight against another contender and he wants to do so quickly.
Baez, 28, remained sharp in his first loss, and that should fuel him to want to get back in the octagon and resume his winning ways.
Montana De La Rosa def. Ariane Lipski via TKO
First up on the main card, Montana De La Rosa (12-6-1) ground and pounded her way to victory over Brazilian Ariane Lipski (13-7).
This women’s flyweight bout showcased De La Rosa’s potential as she looked great in all aspects of the fight.
Her last fight against Mayra Bueno Silva ended in a draw, thanks to a point deduction for Bueno Silva.
After a four-month turnaround, De La Rosa got back on track with the victory.
The closing sequence saw her control the fight on the ground before landing vicious elbows from back mount to force the ref stoppage.
Middleweight unanimous decisions round out the card
Wrapping up the night’s action was a pair of impressive middleweight performances.
Gregory Rodrigues (10-3) defeated Dusko Todorovic (10-2) by unanimous decision in his official UFC debut.
Two products of Dana White’s Contender Series, these middleweights were pretty evenly matched.
Rodrigues’ pace and 73-46 striking advantage made him the victor.
Todorovic falls to 1-2 so far in the UFC.
Finally, Roman Dolidze (9-1) rode his relentless grappling to a unanimous decision win over Laureano Staropoli (9-4).
Staropoli was dangerous when in striking range, but Dolidze never let him get comfortable by persistently working out of a standing waist lock.
The majority of the fight was against the cage or on the ground, which was Dolidze’s specialty.
Consider this an exhibition in game plan execution. Dolidze has now won three of his four UFC fights.