When the UFC first announced that Stefan Struve vs. Stipe Miocic would be the main event of yesterday’s UFC on FUEL 5, most of us assumed that the fight would serve as a coming out party for Stipe Miocic. Even though he hadn’t faced any big names in his UFC career, the heavy-handed prospect certainly looked like he was Cleveland’s next best hope for a champion. Putting Stipe in the cage with a fighter that (arguably) has a weak chin could produce a highlight reel knockout and put Miocic “in the mix” at the heavyweight division.
Except that didn’t happen. Miocic managed to land some heavy shots throughout the fight, but in the end Struve proved to be too much, earning the TKO in the second round. While Miocic outworked Struve throughout the first round, Stipe Miocic had no answers for the lanky heavyweight’s offense once Struve actually started using his jab. Sorry, Cleveland, but you really should have seen this one coming.
This isn’t meant to take anything away from Stefan Struve, as he looked pretty impressive with his victory. Any questions about his chin seemed to be answered yesterday, as he weathered some heavy punches on his way to earning the TKO. And forgive us if we’re harping on this, but when Struve actually uses his jab, he’s a completely different fighter. His lanky attack creates problems for everyone in the heavyweight division, warranting a post-fight comparison to Jon Jones from Chael Sonnen (except Chael added that Struve has twice the courage of Jon Jones, naturally). The twenty four year old fighter improves to 9-3 in the UFC, and is currently riding a four fight win streak.
Rather, this is meant to point out that perhaps we shouldn’t rush to crown Struve the future of the heavyweight division. A test against the deep end of the division is certainly deserved here, but we’ve already seen Struve get knocked out by the division’s top fighters. Unless he continues to work at absorbing less damage and using his reach, I doubt we’ll see anything different out of him this time around. No matter how good your chin is, taking heavy shots from a 240+ pound athlete isn’t exactly a good idea.
But Struve’s victory wasn’t the only surprise from yesterday. How about Dan Hardy actually attempting some takedowns? Or Matt Wiman submitting Paul “Sassangle” Sass? Or Che Mills vs. Duane Ludwig ending via freak knee injury? Those quirky Brits, I tells ya.
Fight of the Night bonuses went to Stefan Struve and Stipe Miocic, Submission of the Night went to Matt Wiman, and Knockout of the Night went to Brad “One Punch” Pickett, who scored his first knockout since 2008. All bonuses were for $40,000.
Stefan Struve def. Stipe Miocic via TKO, 3:50 of Round Two
Dan Hardy def. Amir Sadollah via unanimous decision
Brad Pickett def. Yves Jabouin via KO, 3:40 of Round One
Matt Wiman def. Paul Sass via submission (armbar), 3:48 of Round One
John Hathaway def. John Maguire via unanimous decision
Che Mills def. Duane Ludwig via TKO (knee injury), 3:28 of Round One
Jimi Manuwa def. Kyle Kingsbury via doctor’s stoppage (eye), 5:00 of Round Three
Hamid Corassani def. Andy Ogle via split decision
Brad Tavares def. Tom Watson via split decision
Gunnar Nelson def. Damarques Johnson via submission (rear naked choke), 3:34 of Round One
Robert Peralta def. Jason Young via KO, 0:23 of Round One