In what many fans are calling one of the worst co-main event bouts of this year, heavyweights Sean McCorkle (10-0, 1-0 UFC) and Stefan Struve (20-4, 4-2 UFC) will meet in one of the "highlighted" battles of the UFC 124 main card on Saturday night. I say "highlighted" because that's what the UFC would lead you to believe due to the co-main event billing, but the non-existent marketing and ignorance shown by MMA media would suggest otherwise. Can we blame them? Perhaps the UFC's own marketing department could have promoted these fighters better, but the media and fans alike aren't intrigued at all by this match-up of irrelevant heavyweights, at least at this point in their progression toward the top.
This may simply be proof that the UFC's heavyweight division is lacking depth, but why would the UFC choose this bout for their co-main event over some of the more interesting battles they could have created in other divisions? Does Sean McCorkle or Stefan Struve have some sort of appeal to the casual UFC fan that I'm not seeing? No, not at all.
What the match-up does provide is a probable finish along with the general appeal to the UFC's heavyweight division. Fans have forever been attracted to the heavier weight classes despite some of the most exciting fights happening in the lighter weights. Furthermore, it will be Sean McCorkle's first legitimate challenge in his mixed martial arts career. While some believe Mark Hunt filled that role, Hunt has historically been flaky when it comes to his conditioning and training. He did manage to make the 265 pound weight limit, but that was the only highlight of the one-sided battle with McCorkle.
A pre-UFC victory over Jonathan "Double Somersault" Ivey in conjunction with the Hunt win doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in McCorkle's chances on Saturday night. While his record looks quite impressive with nine of his tens wins ending inside three rounds, most of those fights have been against sub-par competition, suggesting that he may not make it far against a legitimate challenge like Stefan Struve.
Struve has proven that he can beat lower level UFC talent entering the promotion, but when pitted against upper-echelon fighters -- he's failed to impress. Both Roy Nelson and Junior Dos Santos punished him, but it's tough to categorize McCorkle at this point in his career without any comparable opponents to Struve, or anyone who has legitimate wins against better competition for that matter.
Struve's length will be McCorkle's main concern in this fight, and I believe it will be a means for Struve to end this fight on the ground. While I think McCorkle's overall power is immense, I can't see a scenario where Struve doesn't obtain full guard and throw up triangle attempts from his back in order to submit McCorkle or escape the position. Once back on the feet, his reach will eat up McCorkle. I'll bank on Struve coming out victorious with a submission somewhere inside the three round limit, but it wouldn't surprise me if McCorkle bombs Struve out the gate and wins quickly via TKO.