The Match Up
Heavyweight Stefan Struve -120 vs. Jared Rosholt +100
3 Things You Should Know
1. Struve is the wrong side of the competitive parabola, but at heavyweight, that means he's extra formidable.
I'm not really sure what to say about his fight with Big Nog. The fight itself was less young bull versus old bull pugilism, and more like middle schooler giraffe vs. one legged croc. At this point, it's safe to say that Struve isn't gonna experience a big grand lightbulb moment of mixed martial arts.
Fans and observers certainly wished for it, but they're not gonna get it. But like a draft pick whose ceiling never gets as high as you hoped, the floor on his talents still make for an entertaining challenge in the division. Can the same be said of his opponent, Jared Rosholt?
2. Rosholt is the spiritual, chubbier kin of Struve, which should make for a decent scrap between the two.
Rosholt is 5-1 in the UFC. Even his lone loss felt more like a fatal mistake than anything else. Much of the criticism thrown Jared's way has been about his fighting style, but he's made legitimate progression to become more well rounded, even if being well rounded sometimes sounds like a pejorative for "unable to specialize in anything" these days. He'll have his hands full, and his head up for this one.
3. Heavyweight prospects don't get cut much slack, so they'll slack each other instead.
I still can't tell if Struve's fight with Nog was a step back, or some sort of subtle, nuanced step forward. Or if I'm just overthinking everything. What I do know is that Struve seems to be taking a more measured approach on the feet. Whether deliberately, or on accident, perhaps he's experimenting with style and rhythm. All of his losses are by brutal TKO/KO. Each isn't successively more violent per se, but each violent end has its own bombastic chorus of Struve unconsciousness.
Struve's game on the feet is still pretty good; he has good power, and he funnels that power with efficient and narrow strikes that get home quicker than you'd expect for a man of his frame. As always, it's his frame that becomes an x-factor on the ground where his grappling is supernaturally fluid when used offensively.
Rosholt won't want to mess around too much. This is the kind of fight he wants to keep on the feet as much as possible. Playing to the crowd's beer-and-pizza hivemind would pay dividends in this bout. Jared is much quicker than he looks, he like Struve, throws with power. He doesn't have many knockouts on his resume, but a lot of that has to do with him not committing himself to striking on the feet.
Struve, despite the number of knockout losses he's suffered, doesn't have a bad chin. He got knocked out by absolute bruisers. Rosholt isn't there, and his Plan B will be a nightmare for extended bouts of time if he's messing around Struve's guard. Struve's grappling has taken an inexplicable step back (Hunt is fine, and much improved on the ground, but their exchanges should have been dominated by Struve), but it's still dangerous enough. Stefan Struve by triangle, round 3.