The UFC have announced that their April 10th card from Zagreb, Croatia will be headlined by a heavyweight contest between Ben Rothwell and former champion Junior Dos Santos.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) February 8, 2016
The Fight Night event marks the promotion’s first excursion into the Croatian market and they are obviously looking to make an immediate impact with what is an extremely interesting main event.
Rothwell is currently one of the most in-form heavyweights on the roster. The big man has logged four wins in a row since a January, 2013 defeat at the hands of Brazilian veteran Gabriel Gonzaga, with each of those wins coming inside the distance. The news of his bout with Dos Santos comes less than two weeks after Rothwell became the first man to submit Josh Barnett in the UFC. Another win here could easily propel the popular American, who currently sits 5th in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings, into the title picture.
Dos Santos’ situation heading into this clash is very different, but that contrast only adds to the intrigue of it’s narrative.
The 32-year-old is coming off a devastating loss to Alistair Overeem that was preceded by a lengthy hiatus. The once terrifying Brazilian has not been able to generate any real momentum since his second defeat to Cain Velasquez back in October of 2013 and he desperately needs a significant win to get his career back on track. A loss here, however, would seriously dent his relevance within the division.
On top of it’s importance to the career trajectory of each combatant, this is a bout that promises fireworks, as both men are known for their striking prowess and heavy hands. It will also be interesting to see how the Croatian crowd reacts to Dos Santos, who owns a knockout victory over Crotian legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
Elsewhere on the card the aforementioned Gabriel Gonzaga will face promising Russian Ruslan Magomedov in another tasty heavyweight battle.