UFC on Fuel 8 Preview: Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Mark Hunt will return from a 12-month hiatus to compete against Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Tokyo, Japan on Saturday.
Currently in the midst of a career resurgence, Hunt has won his past three fights, most recently knocking out French heavyweight Cheick Kongo.
Struve is riding a four-fight winning streak, stopping each of the opponents he's faced during that current run within two rounds.
With Struve currently sitting at No. 9, a top-10 spot in the heavyweight rankings will likely be on the line in this matchup, so let's take at which fighter is mostly likely to win.
Despite having a much shorter reach than Stefan Struve, Mark Hunt lands with similar frequency.
Hunt has landed 45 percent of his strikes in comparison with Struve's 48 percent success rate with strikes thrown. More notably, Hunt evades 68 percent of strikes thrown at him, whereas Struve is hit by half of the strikes his opponents attempt.
Struve's tendency to keep his chin up and get hit at such a high rate could prove costly against a knockout artist like Hunt.
If it were up to Hunt, he probably wouldn't ever go to the ground in any of his fights. Should he find himself on the canvas against Struve, Hunt's going to do whatever he can to work back to his feet.
Struve did finish Sean McCorkle and others with ground-and-pound, but he's much more likely to work toward a submission in a matchup with the one-dimensional Hunt.
Since joining the UFC roster, the 25-year-old Struve has already suffered three brutal knockout defeats.
Hunt has the power to put just about any person in the world away with a single punch, and he's only been stopped with strikes once in his MMA career. So there's no question which fighter would get the better of a wild exchange on Saturday.
Overall Striking Edge: Hunt
Stefan Struve is clearly the better grappler in this matchup, but that doesn't mean he's going to have an easy time taking Mark Hunt to the ground.
Despite coming almost exclusively from a striking background, Hunt has defended 85 percent of takedowns attempted on him, and Struve isn't exactly the best wrestler in the heavyweight division. Struve often resorts to pulling guard in order to take opponents to the canvas, and that won't be easy to do against an opponent with Hunt's footwork.
Struve also has some holes in his takedown defense, having defended only 29 percent of takedowns attempted against him, but it's unlikely that Hunt will look to take advantage of that.
While Struve will have a difficult time taking Hunt down, he won't have too much trouble keeping his opponent on the ground should he find success in grounding the former kickboxer.
Struve has a tricky guard and is sticky on top, especially against a sloppy and immobile grappler like Hunt.
On top or bottom, Struve won't need long to put Hunt away should the fighters go to the ground at any point in this fight.
Struve already has a handful of UFC submission wins, while Hunt is not all that far removed from a six-fight losing streak that saw him tap five times.
Overall Grappling Edge: Struve
Although Mark Hunt has been around since the Pride FC days, Stefan Struve has competed in MMA far more frequently, which has translated into him being a much more well-rounded fighter than his opponent.
Struve's reach is unmatched in the heavyweight division, but his unique body type comes at a price. The Dutch fighter moves awkwardly around the cage and has almost no chance of shooting in on opponent's legs for takedowns.
Hunt is not the most nimble fighter either, though. The 38-year-old carries some extra weight around his midsection that probably slows him down a bit and impacts the following category.
Though Struve hasn't had a fight enter the third round in more than three years, there's little chance he could look as out of shape as Hunt did in a September 2011 bout with Ben Rothwell.
That being said, this bout will be lucky to make it out of the first minute or two.
Overall Intangibles Edge: Struve
This fight is getting stopped quickly.
If Stefan Struve is forced to stand for long, Mark Hunt will knock him into next week. Likewise, should Struve find a way to take this fight to the ground early, Hunt might as well tap immediately.
Ultimately, Struve has recently shown enough improvement in using his reach to lead one to believe he can survive long enough to take Hunt to the ground. If Sean McCorkle can do it, then Struve should be able to as well.
Once he does drag Hunt down, it'll only be a matter of time before Struve catches a limb or takes his opponent's back and finishes.
Struve defeats Hunt by submission (armbar) at 1:04 of the Round 1.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.