UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida - Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione Preview and Prognostication

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Stefan Struve looks to once again exploit his dinosaur-like reach advantage to put away Matt Mitrione at UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida in Vegas.

Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione Heavyweight

Stefan Struve?

Yea. Stefan Struve.

Nooow I remember.

Seems like the topic de jour, if my post yesterday about Uriah Hall is any indication, is about talent.

True, talent is by nature 'ad hoc'. We define and identify talent after it's already punched us in the face. Like Hall, Struve is another fighter considered a premier "talent"...if only he knew how to take advantage of his height.

It's in our nature to build narratives out of thin air. We're perverted pattern seeking eukaryotes. And one of our favorite narratives is the "what if/if only" variety. If only I had studied for that test. If only I had turned in that paper on time. If only Struve wasn't such a crazy person...and so forth.

No pop culture references yet. You've got a quota to fill.

I like to call it Yanagita Syndrome.

We want Struve to learn the game, and to take full advantage of his gifts, but what are his gifts other than his height? He's not really a good boxer. He's not fast, though he seems to have some decent raw power. I was all in on his potential as a submission grappler, but then Mark Hunt happened.

Maybe Hark Munt is actually better at submissions then we're led to believe?

Hark Munt? Gus Johnson, is that you?

I don't have time to correct typos. It's 4th of July and I've got work to do.

I guess there's some legitimacy to the idea that Hunt isn't actually that bad on the ground. It's an Inception-like insight that has legs thanks to that one time he had Fedor Emelinaneko in what seemed like modest trouble.

Then again 6 of his losses are by submission, so I chock it up to Struve's failure. For as much as we criticize the HW division, this is a really great matchup on paper.

Both guys are reasonably well rounded for HW's and both guys stay active. In addition, nobody has the kind of slick power that would end this potential war prematurely.

War? If Struve gets in another brawl, his brain is toast.

That's the part that worries me. He's 26 which means he'll be a very old 30 if he keeps brawling with his opponent. This bout should be a war of attrition.

It's amazing to think Matt Mitrione has come this far. He's a +145 which is a very good number for a guy that will have the speed advantage and who is more than capable of handling himself on the feet.

This is easily one of the hardest fights to predict. My hunch is that Mitrione takes it. He puts together pretty quick and efficient combinations, and Struve's chin will be open for business all night. He's also capable enough on the ground that I could see him avoiding the submission but Schaub took care of him pretty quickly, and anything Schaub can do on the ground, I suspect Struve can match. Although the two are different grapplers: Schaub is the more fundamentally sound grappler, whereas Struve I feel may be a better finisher. It's hard to say, but Struve's nimble legs and long arms will threaten Matt on the ground all night if he finds himself on his back, or in top control.

On the feet is where this fight gets interesting. Struve's best win is over Stipe Miocic, who is more than capable on the feet.

The problem is that Stipe has dramatically improved since then, so to me it carries a little less weight, even though it still counts as a good win on his resume.

Struve is pretty decent on the feet. He's just awkward. His right hand carries a decent amount of power. At least a few punches caught Hunt's attention when the two started assaulting each other in the third round. He's also getting better at moving his large frame. When he sticks his jab out, throws front kicks, and bounces around he becomes a very unique obstacle to trying to hurt him on the feet.

The reason I'm picking Struve is that I suspect guys with abnormally large frames take longer to develop. His development is slower than usual, but it's there. While his ground game could be the deciding factor in this fight, don't be surprised to see him score a potential TKO. Both guys leave their hands relatively low, but I predict that Struve will take Matt's punch better than Matt will take Struve's punch.

Stefan Struve by TKO, round 3.

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