At UFC 130: Edgar vs. Maynard 3, Heavyweight Stefan Struve will step back into the Octagon for his 8th UFC fight. Since making his debut in 2009 against Junior Dos Santos, Struve has put together an impressive 5-2 UFC record, including one "Submission of the Night" bonus, and one knockout of the night. He'll look to continue his winning ways against Travis Browne, last seen at UFC 130 having his shorts tugged by Cheick Kongo.
Leading up to the fight, the Netherlands' AFAV is putting together a documentary series focusing on Struve as he trains. AFAV tends to focus on kickboxing, but they do really superb work, and if you've never seen one of their videos, you're missing some great insight into the life of a professional fighter. Episode 1 is available now.
This one focuses a bit more on Struve's life instead of his training, but there's some noteworthy parts here. For one: three hours a day training? Doesn't seem like a ton to me, even if it is intense training. Not trying to criticize him, as he has accomplished a lot, but it seems low compared to the statistics you often hear.
Looking at the training on display here (and obviously, we're only getting a slice of his training), it seems Struve is focusing primarily on his stand-up. We see him work some punch combos, plus throw in some push kicks and leg kicks.
Focusing on the stand-up is a great choice for Struve for a few reasons. First off, this is where he has lost in the UFC before - both Roy Nelson and Junior Dos Santos steamrolled him on the feet. He'll need to fix that if he hopes to compete at that level. Second, his massive height and reach advantage are strong natural tools for a stand-up game.
I love that he's working on the push kick - it's a great tool for such a tall fighter. I'd also like to see him work some knees from the clinch, as his height can allow him to really drive those knees home and do a lot of damage. Knees are also great for Struve as he has a strong ground game from his back, so doesn't need to fear the takedown from the clinch.
With his kicks you also see him just wearing a shin pad on his right leg, which could mean he's not using left kicks much, if at all. That's not so surprising in a mixed martial arts setting, but it does provide a small piece of scouting for Browne's camp and says something about the level of his striking.
I'll definitely be back for the next episode, as that one looks to focus on some sparring with K-1 fighter Daniel Ghita. Ghita is an absolute world class striker; we'll talk more about him next time, and see what we can pick up about Struve's evolving game.
Oh, and for you old school fans out there - anyone else glad to see Dirty Bob Schrijber working the pads?