Today MMA Weekly reported that verbal agreements are in place for Stefan Struve to take on Mark Hunt at UFC on Fuel TV 8 in March. (As a quick aside, what’s with the name “MMA Weekly”? Should I just check back once a week? That doesn’t seem to make much sense, especially because Damon Martin and Co. do such a good job on a daily basis. I digress…)
There is only one forum made for a bout like Struve-Hunt, in which the freakishly tall Struve will provide a great visual foil for the insanely strong (and rotund) Hunt. Luckily, this bout will take place in that very forum, as UFC on Fuel TV 8 is scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. If it weren’t for the cage and lack of Kenda Perez I’m sure you’d be able to fool me that I was watching an episode of Best of Pride Fighting Championships.
As with many of Hunt’s fights, this one will likely come down to whether he can land one of his trademark clubbing strikes before Struve can take him down and lock in a submission. Six of Hunt’s seven career losses have come via submission involving his arms. However, if he can test Struve’s chin before that happens, there is a decent chance he can send the skyscraper flailing, as was done by Junior Dos Santos and Travis Browne. If Hunt is able to pull that off you can best believe that delusional MMA fans all across the world, including but not limited to me, will be sending Dana White an endless stream of #rallyformarkhunt tweets begging for a Hunt title shot.
On the other side of the cage, Struve has somewhat quietly won four straight fights in the octagon, and six out of his last seven. I wouldn’t be surprised if he treats the fight with Hunt similarly to his fight against Lavar Johnson, where he generally tried to avoid the striking game altogether in exchange for seeking out a quick submission with his snake like limbs. If he is able to grab Hunt on the ground, it will likely be game over for the Kiwi, as Struve has already collected three “Submission of the Night” awards in his UFC tenure. Considering the general lack of depth in the UFC heavyweight division, an impressive win over Hunt would put Struve in the discussion for a fight against one of the division’s best.
No matter how you draw it up, this should be an exciting fight, and the perfect fight to feature in the UFC’s return to Japan next year.