Coming off his first loss in five Octagon appearances, Augusto Sakai will face Jairzinho Rozenstruik in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 189 main event.
Shortly after arriving in Las Vegas, the Brazilian heavyweight gave an exclusive interview to Sherdog.com, where he pointed to last September’s TKO defeat to Alistair Overeem as a turning point in his career.
“Overeem fractured two ribs and shifted two others in the second round. From that point, on I started to feel a lot of pain,” Sakai said. “He felt that it would be hard for me to defend throws and started to take me down and use ground-and-pound to attack my weak points. I fought until the fifth round and proved to myself how tough I am.”
Sakai promises to use an entirely different strategy against Rozenstruik.
“His strong point is his left hand followed by a sequence of punches, and I studied a lot to neutralize that with Master Noguchi. Of course my main goal is to use my muay Thai to knock him out, but I´m also prepared to use my jiu-jitsu,” Sakai said.
If he is victorious on Saturday, Sakai would like to face Derrick Lewis next.
"It would be a fun matchup,” he said.
Sakai is not as excited about the potential heavyweight debut of Jon Jones, who remains sidelined due to contentious negotiations with the UFC.
"Even before his debut, Jones is already causing a lot of mess in our division. The Top 5 are basically blocked by his negotiations,” Sakai said. “But no matter how long it takes, I believe he will have problems with [Francis] Ngannou, who will have a long reign at heavyweight in my opinion.”