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Jairzinho Rozenstruik has a grand sense of timing.
The undefeated Surinamese heavyweight knocked out former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem with a sweeping right hook in the fifth round of their UFC on ESPN 7 headliner on Saturday at Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C. A late-notice substitution for Will Harris, Rozenstruik (10-0, 4-0 UFC) brought it to a close 4:56 into Round 5.
Overeem (45-18, 10-7 UFC) used a combination of guile and brawn to build a substantial lead, controlling significant portions of the first four-plus rounds with cautious but intelligent standup, a stifling clinch, tactical takedowns and ground-and-pound. Rozenstruik was seemingly headed for his first MMA defeat in the waning seconds, but he followed a shovel uppercut with a searing right hand. The impact split Overeem’s upper lip and sat him down at the base of the cage. He jumped immediately to his feet but stumbled across the cage in a dazed state, leading referee Dan Miragliotta to call for the stoppage.
Calvillo, Rodriguez Battle to Stalemate
Tiger Muay Thai representative Cynthia Calvillo and Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Marina Rodriguez fought to a majority draw in the three-round women’s strawweight co-main event. Two judges saw it even at 28-28, while a third scored it 29-28 for Rodriguez.
A short-notice replacement for Claudia Gadelha, the undefeated Rodriguez (12-0-2, 2-0-2 UFC) spent much of the first two rounds abusing the Californian with sharp right hands, crushing knees to the body, standing elbows and a variety of kicks. However, Calvillo (8-1-1, 5-1-1 UFC) lured her into Round 3 and made her move. She secured a takedown, tore into Rodriguez with elbows to the body and head, transitioned to full mount and let fly with a brutal sequence of ground-and-pound that almost necessitated a stoppage. Rodriguez survived, left her fate to the judges and settled for a draw.
Rothwell Loses Point, Buries Struve
International Fight League and Affliction alum Ben Rothwell cut down Stefan Struve with punches in the second round of their heavyweight feature. Struve (29-12, 13-10 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:57 into Round 2, as he lost for the fourth time in five outings. However, his demise was not without controversy.
The match was overshadowed by two unintentional but devastating low blows — one in each round — from Rothwell (37-12, 7-6 UFC). Struve used up the allotted recovery time on both occasions, and “Big Ben” was deducted a point. The Dutchman, perhaps to his detriment, elected to continue with a little more than a minute to go in the middle stanza and could not keep the desperate Rothwell at bay. Struve appeared to injure his leg while throwing a low kick, retreated to the fence and ate a volley of uppercuts that drove him to a seated position. Rothwell kept firing punches until the job was done.
Rothwell’s first win in nearly four years brought an end to his three-fight losing streak.
Aggressive Ladd Stops Kunitskaya
Aspen Ladd rebounded from her first professional defeat — a 16-second technical knockout loss to Germaine de Randamie in July — and did so in resounding fashion, as she put away Yana Kunitskaya with punches in the third round of their featured women’s bantamweight encounter. Ladd (9-1, 4-1 UFC) drew the curtain 33 seconds into Round 3.
Kunitskaya (12-5, 2-2 UFC) found success with knees from the clinch and occasional leg kicks, but she lacked the weaponry necessary to give her hyper-aggressive opponent real pause. Ladd leveled her with a left hook at the start of the third round, followed up with punches and advanced to the back. From there, a volley of unanswered shots to the side of the head forced referee Keith Peterson’s hand.
The loss was Kunitskaya’s first since March 2018.
Stamann-Song Results in Majority Draw
Cody Stamann and Yadong Song fought to a controversial majority draw in a three-round bantamweight showcase. One judge scored it 29-28 for Stamann, while two others struck 28-28 scorecards that sent an audible murmur rippling through the crowd. Song (15-4-1, 4-0-1 UFC) was deducted a point for an illegal knee strike in the first round, costing him what would have been a split decision win.
Though he was met with stout punching combinations on the feet, Stamann (18-2-1, 4-1-1 UFC) controlled parts of the first and second rounds with takedowns and positional control, but he found another gear in the third. There, he took down Song, stymied his momentum on the mat and ultimately climbed to full mount. Stamann tore into the Team Alpha Male prospect with ground-and-pound, all while floating from one dominant position to the next. He had the look of a fighter heading for certain victory, only to have the judges say otherwise.
The draw snapped Song’s seven-fight winning streak.
Font Outboxes Simon to Decision
Rob Font won for the fifth time in seven appearances, as he took a unanimous decision from former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Ricky Simon in a three-round bantamweight feature. All three judges sided with Font (17-4, 7-3 UFC): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Simon (15-3, 3-2 UFC) had the Leominster, Massachusetts, native reeling midway through the first round, as he corralled him with a half nelson and landed a series of knees to the face along the fence. Font withstood the adversity, extended the fight and allowed his skills to do the rest. He countered with chopping right hands and uncorked uppercuts at opportune times, but he did his best work with the jab, routinely snapping back Simon’s head and bloodying his nose.
The 27-year-old Simon has lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his career.