As covered in another blog, Stefan Struve earned a big win as an underdog at this past Saturday’s UFC, taking out the much hyped Stipe Miocic in impressive and concussive fashion. In the aftermath of the bout, Struve was labelled as approaching the top 5 in the division by UFC President Dana White, and the big Dutchman had no hesitation in calling out his next opponent – Brazil’s Fabricio Werdum. Kudos to Struve, that is not a bad match to make, and Werdum certainly qualifies as a fighter higher on the pecking order right now. Let’s take a look at this match, which could occur in the December time frame.
The lines will certainly have Struve as the underdog again, as Werdum is a solid veteran who is 2-0 in his latest UFC run. He also owns the first win over legendary Fedor Emilianenko in STRIKEFORCE, and is one of the few top heavyweights without a fight scheduled.
But he is a good matchup for Struve. This latest run for Werdum includes a win over ‘Big Country’ Roy Nelson that displayed improved striking, however Werdum is still coming along with his striking and what he showed were mainly solid knees and clinch work. He will have to show a different dimension to his game, as he is unlikely to pull Struve down in the clinch due to Struve’s height.
On the ground, certainly Werdum is more credentialed, but Struve has proven competent. At any rate the fight is unlikely to go to the ground.
The thing about Struve is he is multi dimensional, and he is hard to prepare for as no one really has seven footers for sparring partners that can simulate his skills. Even if it goes to the ground, where Werdum has the skill advantage, that is a lot of legs and arms to cope with.
I also like the fact that Struve called out Werdum. Confidence from a very experienced 24 year old is good to see. We will see where the line comes in, but likely it will be Werdum as the favorite at the start. Struve is hot, and it might be one of the last times the betting public can catch him as an underdog. Take that bet!