Stefan Struve is on quite a nice run as of late. The win over Stipe Miocic was Struve's fourth-straight victory in the UFC. Also, all of Struve's recent wins have come before the final bell with two submission victories mixed in with two TKO finishes.
Miocic presented a problem that Struve had previously struggled to overcome in his career—power punches. Miocic is an accomplished boxer who can hit hard, and Struve had struggled to protect his chin while standing above the competition.
Struve took some shots early on and was rocked in the second round, but persevered through the adversity. Just as Jon Anik and Kenny Florian said in the post-fight press conference, Struve is growing as a fighter each time he steps into the Octagon.
We already knew he was a slick submission artist, able to utilize his lanky arms and legs, but showcased his striking game against Miocic. Possessing great height usually translates to a lack of power in the punches, but that didn't seem to apply to Struve on Saturday.
Another obstacle Struve seemed to overcome was winning when he was picked to be the favorite. Every time Struve seemed to be able to get momentum going in his career, a fight with someone like this always seems to cause him to stumble back down the rankings.
With four-straight victories, Struve is poised to finally be "in the mix." His physical gifts are well known as is his ground game, but now Struve appears to have a complimentary striking game as well. He still needs to work on fully utilizing his height on the feet, but fighting tall isn't an easy skill to acquire.
Struve mentioned fighting Fabricio Werdum in the post-fight press conference, but that would be a huge step up in competition for Struve. If he feels he's ready for the kind of fighter that Werdum is, then more power to him and the UFC for putting that match up together.
With many of the top contenders already having scheduled bouts, I wouldn't mind seeing him face Mark Hunt (a match up previously put together on the UFC 146 card), once Hunt returns from his injury.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!