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Jairzinho Rozenstruik makes a bold prediction for his fight against Francis Ngannou at UFC 249

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jairzinho Rozenstruik had no fear calling out Francis Ngannou, and he’s carrying that same swagger into their highly anticipated fight coming at UFC 249.

The confidence brimming from the 32-year-old heavyweight contender hailing from Suriname is actually nothing new.

Ever since he first arrived in the UFC, Rozenstruik has delivered on every promise he’s made with four straight knockouts including his recent fifth-round comeback to flatten Alistair Overeem this past December. Afterwards, he immediately turned his attention to Ngannou, who is widely considered one of the most feared heavyweights on the entire UFC roster.

A string of devastating finishes including knockouts over two former champions in Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos have put Ngannou at the top of the contender’s list in the division, which is exactly why Rozenstriuk targeted him for his next fight.

“For me it’s a big challenge and we love the challenge, me and my team,” Rozenstruik “The second point, also for him, he doesn’t have a fight. So he has to be happy he has a fight right now. I think it’s exciting.

“I’m going to stand in front of him and I’m going to be like ‘this is the fight we wanted, let’s dance.’ I’m happy I got to fight him.”

As frightening as Ngannou might be to some, Rozenstruik isn’t counted among them.

“I’m a fighter. I’ve been doing this for years,” Rozenstruik said. “I’m used to knocking big guys out so it won’t be different. It’s blood and meat in there. It’s what I eat, so what is different?”

While Ngannou has two losses on his UFC resume, nobody has finished him much less knocked him out. Current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic managed to weather the early storm to take Ngannou down repeatedly and wear him out over five rounds.

Derrick Lewis also holds a win over Ngannou but that ended up as more of a staring contest with the two heavy hitters largely refusing to engage with each other over three rounds.

Rozenstruik certainly doesn’t want to see that kind of fight again and he’s hoping whatever prevented Ngannou from pulling the trigger than night won’t revisit him when they clash on April 18.

“I know I have that ability [to knock him out],” Rozenstruik said. “I’m working. We’re always working to be better and that’s why we’re always in the gym. The guy’s going to go down one way or another.

“If he comes to fight. If he’s coming into the Octagon thinking he’s going to run around. Same that Alistair does. Alistair didn’t want to fight. He just came in with his game plan, he wanted to do this, wanted to do that, and then walk away.”

If Ngannou is willing to stand and trade, Rozenstruik doesn’t see any way this fight goes further than the end of the second round.

“I think first round or second round,” Rozenstruik said when offering his prediction. “100 percent. First round or second round, he goes down.

“If he comes to fight, it’s going to be first round or second round. Mark my words.”

More than anything, Rozenstruik is looking at his fight with Ngannou as the opportunity to really show the best of himself as he works towards title contention.

As impressive as his first four knockouts have been in the UFC, Rozenstruik promises the best is yet to come.

“You guys haven’t seen anything yet,” Rozenstruik said. “The fight with Overeem was OK but you haven’t seen nothing yet. I’ve got more in my pocket to show you guys. If this is going to be the fight to show you a lot, I’m looking forward to doing it.”