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Sakai plans to use ‘extra cards’ in sleeve on UFC headliner, prove he ‘belongs’ in heavyweight elite

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Heavyweight Augusto Sakai is ready to show he’s a worthy contender against Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

Heavyweight contender Augusto Sakai is glad that the UFC gave him another main event spot to showcase his skills. Following a TKO defeat to Alistair Overeem in his first ever headliner, the Brazilian is now paired up against heavy-hitter Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and hopes to show how much he has improved since the loss to the ‘Demolition Man’.

In an interview with UFC Brazil, Sakai pointed out how this second opportunity is perfect to show that he still belongs in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. Disappointing as the Overeem loss was, Augusto calls it a learning experience that made him a better fighter in the Octagon.

“It’s a good opportunity, that’s how I look at this fight. Although I lost my last fight, it was a great learning experience. I learned from the Overeem fight, so much. Now they gave another main event against another big name. I’ll show why Sakai belongs in the top 10, at the top of the division. I want to have a great fight and score a great win.”

When it comes to how his style matches up against Jairzinho’s, Augusto has little doubt on what his opponent will try to do, but the Brazilian hopes to surprise ‘Bigi Boy’ with some extra tricks. A kickboxer with deadly knockout power, Rozenstruik usually goes for the kill on the feet in all of his bouts, which is why Sakai intends to mix things up in order to drag his opponent out of the comfort zone.

“We don’t have to worry about takedowns so much, since Jairzinho never goes for the takedown. We’re adding some extra cards up our sleeves and we’re getting ready to put on a great fight and score a great win.”

“He’s very explosive, he likes to walk forward and fire his shots.” Augusto continued. “I believe that if I can make him walk backwards, put him against the fence, maybe even get a few takedowns, we’ll score this win. It’s going to be a great fight.”

Before his September 2020 loss to Alistair Overeem, Sakai (15-2-1) was on a four-fight winning streak in the UFC. During this time, the 30-year-old picked up wins over Chaser Sherman, Andrei Arlovski, Marcin Tybura and Blagoy Ivanov.

Now, Sakai is expected to take on Rozenstruik at UFC Vegas 28’s main event, on June 5. The card is scheduled to take place at the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas, Nevada.