Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik UFC 266, Odds, Pick & Prediction: Can the Favorite Avoid Knockout? (Saturday, Sept. 25)
Francois Nel/Getty Images. Pictured: Curtis Blaydes.
- The lone heavyweight fight on the UFC 266 main features Curtis Blaydes against Jairzinho Rozenstruik.
- Blaydes is a huge favorite in the matchup, which could end quickly.
- Sean Zerillo explains where he's finding value in the matchup below.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik Odds
Two highly ranked and dangerous heavyweights will meet in the octagon at UFC 266 hoping to stay in the mix among the elite fighters in the division. No. 4 ranked Curtis Blaydes and No. 6 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik are set to battle on the Pay-Per-View portion of Saturday’s card in a fight that very well end quickly for either side.
Blaydes is looking to bounce back from his first loss since 2018 — a knockout loss to Derrick Lewis in February — while Rozenstruik returns three months after knocking out Augusto Sakai.
Below I preview the betting odds and break down the matchup for the lone heavyweight fight on the main card. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can also check out my projections for the entire slate.
Tale of the Tape
|Record||14-3 (1 NC)||12-2|
|Avg. Fight Time||10:15||8:49|
|Weight (pounds)||265 lbs.||265 lbs.|
|Date of birth||2/18/91||3/17/88|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.59||3.15|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||1.70||3.27|
|Take Down Avg||6.64||0.0|
Blaydes suffered a brutal KO against Lewis and his upcoming fight with Jairzinho “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik represents a similar test. Blaydes only loses when he is unable to ground his opponents, and all three of his career losses have come by way out of knockout.
Blaydes offers some of the most effective wrestling in any UFC weight class (6.64 takedowns per 15 minutes, 54% accuracy), and his style is particularly effective at heavyweight. However, he fought a subpar game plan against Lewis, by choosing to strike for the opening frame and neglecting to tire out the power puncher by putting Lewis on his back.
Though he out-struck Lewis with ease (26-5 in Round 1), once Blaydes finally did attempt a takedown in Round 2, he ate a brutal uppercut and keeled over.
I expect him to go to his wrestling much earlier in this three-round fight with Rozenstruik, whose win condition is almost entirely tied to a knockout.
While we don’t know how Rozenstruik’s takedown defense (80%) has developed — Blaydes represents the most difficult grappling test of his career — the former kickboxer has shown little ability to get off of his back once opponents put him there. One takedown could be the end of the fight, and each takedown could be a full round in Blaydes’ favor.
Furthermore, Rozenstruik is a low-volume counter-puncher (-0.12 strike differential) and I suspect that Blaydes could win minutes at distance with his athleticism, speed, and reach (+2 inches).
Essentially, this is the same matchup as the Lewis fight for Blaydes, but while Rozenstruik may be more difficult to ground than Lewis, he will show less resistance once you put him there.
Blaydes vs. Rozenstruik Pick
I don’t show value on either side of the moneyline or the totals.
I do show slight value on Blaydes to win by decision in the prop market, where I project Blaydes as equally likely to win by decision or knockout (projected +190). I would set his odds to win inside the distance at +137, and I don’t see value compared to listed odds (+110) there either.
I doubt that Rozenstruik survives to the final bell if Blaydes has 10-plus minutes of control, but given the way that the Lewis fight ended, I suspect that Blaydes may also prioritize controlling position when he is on top; the fewer opportunities that he gives to Rozenstruik on the feet, the better his chances.
The Pick: Blaydes by Decision (+220, 0.25u)