Fighter Profile: Stefan Struve

Fighter Profile: Stefan Struve

Stefan Struve, what an interesting, frustrating, intriguing, fascinating, irritating, and phenomenally talented fighter. He’s got great stand-up that he refuses to fully utilize, incredible submissions which are his most valuable asset to date, and guts for miles. I keep thinking he’s young, and yet I can’t shake the feeling the guy’s got a definite ceiling. If he could get his stand-up to the point where he’s actually bringing his reach into play, then I would say the sky’s the limit for this kid. And hell, he’s already scraping it. Ba Dum Tiss.

However, his stand-up suffers greatly from his inability to fight outside of the pocket. Stefan Struve acts like he doesn’t have the longest reach and biggest height advantage in the UFC. He likes to let smaller men get inside, and then subsequently bang with dudes he has absolutely no business banging with. Insert gay joke here.

His fight with Pat Berry for example: Berry is a world class kick boxer (albeit a world class kick boxer that always seems to get his ass kicked,) and Struve decided to test out his own kickboxing chops during their 1st  round. Low and behold, the 2nd comes around and Struve wins by submission.  A smart move.

I kept thinking that whole fight: “Why even bother with the stand-up game? Barry’s weakness is pretty well known, with Struve’s stretch Armstrong like physique, it shouldn’t have been a problem to reach down for an ankle pick.” Yet he bides his time and throws these short punches and kicks, then in the 2nd round, goes for a D’arce choke, pulls guard* only to wind up in a scramble that has Pat Berry ending up in side control.

He managed to switch to a triangle position from there, but that’s only because Berry has the ground skills of a kid with Down’s syndrome on his first day of wrestling practice. He’s got the retard strength, and tons of heart, but zero control/technique/ability to remember the alphabet.  Fairly important stuff if you’re going to compete in MMA. To Barry’s credit he did start working out with Lesnar’s team of grapplers at Deathclutch before they disbanded, but the skeptic in me suspects that he was only there to serve as a Catamite for the much larger male gorillas to excrete excess aggression and testosterone on (in?). **

Back to Struve. He pisses me off. He’s got so much talent, and yet that one big weakness. Granted he knocked out the very game boxer, Stipe Miocic. However, Miocic was still inside and landing consistently and I believe he took the first round. That won’t cut it if he has to fight a striker like Dos Santos or Overeem. Struve is very close to being, if not already, a top 10 fighter in the heavyweight division, but asking for Fabricio Verdun for his next fight was a questionable decision. I would have gone with Big Nog. That’s a match better suited to his ranking, and somebody needs to definitively remove Minotauro from the top 10. As for Fabricio… I can’t help but think of the beating Verdun gave Big Country, and we all remember what Nelson did to Struve.

Well, I remember.

If you don’t happen to recall, Roy Nelson knocked Struve out in about 30 seconds. Why? Because he got inside of Struve’s superior reach. This is what we call a pattern of stupid behavior. Well, maybe not stupid, but definitely careless.

Struve needs to take a page out of Jon Jones’ book, (don’t we all?) and use his long limbs as an impenetrable barrier of fist and foot focused flesh. Keep your opponents at bay with all sorts of dirty kicks to the knee cap and sneaky elbows. Of course, Jones actually has the same reach as Struve, despite being 7 inches shorter, which is completely ridiculous, but somehow still true. Either way, if I were Skyscraper, that’s whose tapes I’d be watching. Wouldn’t a fight between the two of them be fun to watch? Jones would win via TKO in 3, no wait… 2. I can’t wait for Jones to go heavyweight.

It wouldn’t hurt for Struve to learn some freaking takedown defense either. I guess it would be more important if his stand-up were better. Sigh. As it is, he wins fights off his back enough for guys to be wary of taking him down. That seems to have been the case with Miocic, who I had fully expected to win the fight. Struve surprised me though. Otherwise I’d probably be writing this about Stipe instead. So in a way I’m glad I was wrong, Struve is a lot more interesting than Miocic. Right now they’re about tied for inconsistency though.

I guess we’ll just have to see what lies in this young man’s still promising future, but unless he shows some marked improvement in the stand-up game. He’s not going to be able to break the top 5. Maybe not the to 9.

I have to think he can beat Nogiera though. Everyone has to be able to beat Nogiera by now, right? I mean, Mir shredded his arm. I don’t care what his trainer says, that thing ain’t never gonna be the same.

The real point of this article? Big Nog should retire.


*I have to admit that pulling guard is a bit underrated when it comes to good jujitsu guys. Judges seem to frown upon it as giving up position, but if you’ve got submission skills comparable to someone like Damien Maia, the last place anyone wants to be is your guard. Just ask Chael Sonnen.

**My sincerest apologies to Pat Berry. I think he’s an awesome and entertaining fighter. I don’t really think he received anal from the Deathclutch crew. He’s just an easy target, and I am a weak yet snarky individual. I went for the throat, can you blame me?