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The squeamish may want to turn away for this one.
Two of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most formidable power punchers are on a collision course, as Francis Ngannou will face the undefeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a heavyweight showcase at UFC 249 on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. With both men currently ranked in the Top 10, the winner figures to find himself on a short list of title contenders.
Having rattled off three consecutive victories, Ngannou has his needle pointed in the right direction once again. He last competed at UFC on ESPN 3 in June, when he disposed of former champion Junior dos Santos with punches 1:11 into the first round of their encounter at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Ngannou has delivered all 14 of his wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Rozenstruik, meanwhile, kept his perfect professional record intact and improved to 10-0 in dramatic fashion on Dec. 7, when he brought down onetime Dream and Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem with punches 4:56 into the fifth round of their UFC on ESPN 7 headliner. It was the latest finish in the history of the UFC heavyweight division. Rozenstruik has stopped his last five opponents, three of them inside one round.
As the two heavyweight behemoths prepare to lock horns, here is a by-the-numbers look at their forthcoming showdown:
33: Years of age for Ngannou. He was born on Sept. 5, 1986 in Batie, Cameroon.
10: First-round finishes under Ngannou’s belt. They include 26-, 43-, 45-, 71-, 92- and 94-second stoppages.
3: Losses for “The Predator,” all by decision. Ngannou dropped a unanimous verdict to Zoumana Cisse in his second professional appearance, won his next 10 fights and then wound up on the wrong side of the scorecards in back-to-back outings against Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis.
4: Ngannou wins by submission. Though he has established himself as one of the sport’s most feared strikers, “The Predator” has secured victories by armbar, arm-triangle choke, guillotine choke and kimura.
6: UFC victories in fights where Ngannou landed fewer than 10 significant strikes. Those wins came against Overeem, dos Santos, Bojan Mihajlovic, Anthony Hamilton, Andrei Arlovski and Cain Velasquez.
32: Years of age for Rozenstruik. He was born on March 17, 1988 in Paramaribo, Suriname.
9: Seconds Rozenstruik needed to put away Allen Crowder with punches at UFC Fight Night 154. It ranks as the second-fastest stoppage in UFC heavyweight history, behind only Todd Duffee’s seven-second finish of Tim Hague in 2009.
76: Rozenstruik victories as a professional kickboxer. He owns a 76-8-1 record in kickboxing.
89: Significant strikes landed by Rozenstruik in his fifth-round stoppage of Overeem, 28 more than he landed in his three previous Octagon appearances combined.
75: Percentage of takedowns Rozenstruik has defended inside the Octagon. Opponents are 4-for-16 against him.