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Overeem ‘glad’ Rozenstruik stepped in on short notice, plans to fight smart and score a finish

Alistair Overeem wants to make quick work of Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC on ESPN 7.

If it were up to him, Alistair Overeem would retire as a UFC fighter. Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Without taking too many risks, former heavyweight title challenger Alistair Overeem wants to finish short notice replacement Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC on ESPN 7. But the former PRIDE, K-1, and Strikeforce veteran knows he will have a dangerous opponent in front of him when they meet in the Octagon on Saturday night.

Originally scheduled to take on Walt Harris, who left the card after the tragic disappearance of his daughter-in-law Aniah Blanchard, Overeem is happy Rozenstruik accepted this bout. However, the fighter currently training out of Team Elevation tells Combate he is confident that he will be able to score another signature finish.

“Jairizinho had a great showing (against Andrei Arlovski), as soon as I watched it, I thought he could be the one. I didn’t think he had much of a chance, but it happened. I’m very happy that he accepted it, it’s a huge opportunity for him, and for me, I’m glad to have an opponent. I need to be careful with his power shots and I have to fight my fight, which is a smart fight. I’m very confident we’ll win and finish Jairzinho”.

A kickboxing veteran, much like Overeem, Rozenstruik is a rising prospect with three KO wins in the Octagon. And it’s that kind of striking prowess that makes the ‘Demolition Man’ excited for a thrilling battle on December 7.

“I need to fight my fight, I need to create the circumstances for my fight to happen. I’m very prepared, I feel great and confident. It’s true, he’s a rising prospect, but he’s very experienced in kickboxing, so he’s no starter, he’s actually a veteran, too. I’m very excited for Saturday. He has an extensive kickboxing record, lots of wins, lots of knockouts. His UFC wins were also impressive. He had a nine-second win and his Arlovski win was very impressive. He showed a lot of skill.”

Currently on a two-fight winning streak, Alistair Overeem (45-17-1 NC) knocked out both Sergei Pavlovich and Alexey Oleynik in his most recent bouts. The 39-year-old’s last loss came in June 2018, when he was TKO’d by Curtis Blaydes at UFC 225.

The 12-fight UFC on ESPN 7 card takes place at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Overeem vs. Rozenstruik is expected to be the event’s headlining fight, with a women’s strawweight bout between Marina Rodriguez and Cynthia Calvillo set for the co-main.