Stefan Struve has always been a little bit of an enigma to fans. He is 6’10’’, from Denmark, yet his striking has never been the focal point of his game. Instead of becoming a top-level kick-boxer who uses his insane reach advantage to pepper opponents from the outside, Struve has become a ground-fighter. His guillotines are deadly and he uses his long legs to trap his opponent in triangle chokes.
Part of me thinks that Struve could be a special fighter. If he could learn to use his physical gifts in his grappling game and his striking, he could be a guy who would at least contend for a title. As it is currently, we all know the story with Struve: if he fights a guy who has knockout power and can grapple a little bit, he is probably going to sleep. Even Roy Nelson, who stands a paltry six feet-tall was able to wade through Struve’s reach advantage to land a vicious knock-out blow.
On March 2, 2013 at UFC on Fuel 8 in Saitama, Japan, Struve will look to buck that trend against Mark Hunt. The former PRIDE star will surely be the crowd favorite and the resurgent veteran packs some of the hardest punches in all of MMA. If Struve wants to win the fight, he’ll have to finally use his reach advantage to keep the Samoan on the outside. Otherwise we’ll see a repeat of his bout with Roy Nelson.
Eventually, if Struve can make Hunt chase him for long enough, he can tire him out and throw him to the mat. Once Hunt is there, he is a fish out of water and Struve is a wizard on the mat. But the only way Struve will get a chance to get it there is to keep Hunt at bay with his reach. If Hunt gets inside on Struve, the referee will have to use smelling salts to wake him up after the bout.
What do you think fight fans? Get at me @samgenovese on Twitter.