This Saturday Night in Las Vegas, the UFC’s latest PPV offering features an all Heavyweight main card. Despite changes to the card and the loss of the marquee title fight, the card overall has the MMA world abuzz. The main and co-main event feature big favorites and wide odds. You have to look a little further down the card to find a pick ‘em fight, and Stefan Struve and Lavar Johnson is one of those fights.
I had picked against Lavar Johnson in his last fight against Pat Barry. Then Barry showed up on fight week and was talking about exhaustion and not wanting to do interviews. Barry was mentally weak, and Johnson made me look good for switching up at the last minute. My reasons for picking Barry early were that he is on paper, a higher skilled fighter than Johnson, and the higher skill guys make good bets most of the time.
Well Struve is also a higher skilled guy than Johnson. And though there are those people that question Struve’s chin, and rightfully so, he has also been in with big punchers like Paul Buentello, Pat Barry and a few others, and Struve has taken them out. I don’t need to see the weigh ins, from what we have seen of Struve, we know that his mind will be in the fight and that he knows what he has to do against Johnson.
Johnson also knows what he has to do. He has to hit Struve, and hit Struve hard and find the chin button that other opponents have found. He has to avoid the ground game.
Struve is going to need to set a good pace in the first round, but he is also going to need to stay safe. In the second round, when Johnson is a little bit tired from the first round, he is going to need to act and try to finish the fight.
Struve should not let the fight go the distance, because even though Johnson tires his big punch could come at any moment in the fight until the very end, and Struve should not gamble on standing in there 15 minutes if he doesn’t have to.
When you have a fight that is this close on the line, a total pick ‘em, it is about picking who is going to win the fight. Though I have fluctuated back and forth, I am going to pick Struve on this one, to finish. Skill over brawn. We shall see!