UFC on Fuel TV: Stefan Struve vs. Dave Herman Breakdown
Times are changing for the UFC's heavyweight division. With the addition of former Strikeforce heavyweights, a number of new contenders are entering the fold and fighters who aren't up to snuff could be looking for work in the near future.
For young heavyweights like Stefan Struve and Dave Herman, now is the time to make a move and avoid being left among the lower-tier fighters of the division.
On Wednesday, Struve and Herman will compete in the co-main event of UFC on Fuel TV with a chance to earn a big step up in competition.
Before these up-and-coming heavyweights step into the Octagon, let's take a look at how they match up against one another in all aspects of MMA.
Given his massive reach, many assume the strongest part of Stefan Struve's game would be his striking. However, Struve's fights under the UFC banner have proven that is not the case.
While Struve does have capable striking and scored a spectacular come-from-behind knockout win against Christian Morecraft, he often doesn't use his reach to his advantage and is much more dangerous on the ground than on his feet.
Similarly, Dave Herman is not an extremely technical striker, but he possesses power that has allowed him to pick up 15 of his 21 career wins via knockout. In his UFC debut against John-Olav Einemo, Herman ate plenty of big shots before returning fire and putting his opponent away in the second round.
A stand-up fight between Struve and Herman would likely turn into a back-and-forth slugfest with neither fighter having a significant advantage in power or technique.
Struve has been knocked out in all three of his losses inside the Octagon. Even though all three of those knockouts came against heavy-hitting opponents, Struve's ability to defend himself on his feet has to be a concern against a fighter like Herman.
Meanwhile, Herman has only been knocked out once in 23 career fights. Though that doesn't mean he can completely disregard Struve's power, Herman showed that he can take a good deal of punishment in his fight against Einemo.
If this fight stays standing, there is a much better chance that Herman would work his way inside and put Struve's lights out than the Dutchman landing a knockout blow of his own from the outside.
Training with Team Quest, a camp known for its wrestling prowess, Herman holds a significant advantage over Struve in the wrestling department. Seldom has Struve stifled opponents' takedown attempts, but the 23-year-old has a dangerous guard waiting once the fight goes to the ground.
Whether it would be wise for him to grapple with Struve or not, Herman will be the fighter to decide where this fight takes place.
Though neither is world-class in either discipline, Dave Herman's wrestling is approximately on par with Stefan Struve's jiu-jitsu.
In terms of scrambles and positioning, Herman and Struve's skill sets should cancel each other out and make for somewhat of a stalemate.
However, a stalemate on the ground would give Struve the opportunity to look for submission attempts instead of worrying more about having his guard passed.
Herman has never been submitted in 23 career fights, but he has also not spent much time on the ground with any fighters that possess Struve's level of submission skills.
Of Struve's 22 wins in MMA, 15 have come via submission. The heavyweight's long limbs have allowed him to trap many an opponent in triangle chokes off of his back.
Herman may be best served keeping this fight standing and avoiding Struve's dangerous guard.
Though Struve has some devastating ground and pound of his own, as he showcased in his fight with Sean McCorkle, the Dutch fighter's ground game is much more focused on submissions.
Herman, on the other hand, looks to end fights with his fists once he takes his opponents to the ground. With 15 of his 21 wins coming by knockout, Herman has finishing power on his feet and on the ground.
Against Struve, though, over-committing to punches on the ground could leave Herman open for submission attempts, something he has to be very careful of in this fight.
As we saw in his fight against John-Olav Einemo, Dave Herman doesn't enter his fights with much of a game plan other than pushing forward and finishing his opponents with punches, whether it be standing or on the canvas.
With nine UFC appearances already under his belt, the 23-year-old Struve has a wealth of experience for a fighter of his age.
It's hard to say how much of an advantage it will give him against Herman, but Struve's familiarity with the Octagon is certainly an asset heading into this fight.
With Struve's seven-inch reach advantage comes a speed and strength disadvantage against Herman.
Having such a long reach has its benefits in MMA, but it is also hard for a 6'11" fighter to look as coordinated as his stockier counterparts.
There are advantages and disadvantages for both fighters when you match their pure physical abilities against each other.
His fight with Einemo was fast-paced and his first in the UFC, but Herman looked to fade quickly before landing some big shots in that fight at UFC 131.
Struve has only reached the final round in one of his UFC fights, but he has seldom seemed to tire inside the Octagon.
Until Stefan Struve learns to use his massive reach and improves his offensive wrestling, opponents are going to begin to rush him and throw bombs from the inside.
That formula for beating Struve also coincides with Herman's style, meaning it could be a rough outing for the 23-year-old Dutchman.
Look for Herman to press the action and keep this fight standing, knocking out Struve with punches late in the opening round of action.
Herman defeats Struve by knockout in the first round.