UFC 222: Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski fight preview

Stefan Struve (-220)
: 30
Nationality: Dutch
MMA Record: 28-9
UFC Record: 12-7
Notable Wins: Stipe Miocic, Bigfoot Silva
Notable Losses: Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, Roy Nelson
Last Fight: TKO loss to Alexander Volkov

Fighter Profile: On paper Struve should be one of the top contenders in the heavyweight division but unfortunately for him his chin has held him back his entire career. Struve has a very long reach and can knock opponents out, plus his submissions are extremely good for the heavyweight division, but he has taken way too much damage in his career and almost always gets knocked out in his losses. There’s no doubt he’s a well-rounded fighter and at times he can look like a world beater, but he has too many poor performances to trust him completely. That being said, this is a favorable fight against an aging Arlovski on paper, and if Struve can win, he’ll throw his name in the hat as a potential future opponent for the champ Miocic, who Struve defeated in a massive upset back in 2012.

Andrei Arlovski (+170)
Age: 39
Nationality: Belarusian
MMA Record: 26-15, 1 NC
UFC Record: 15-9
Notable Wins: Roy Nelson, Frank Mir, Bigfoot Silva
Notable Losses: Francis Ngannou, Alistair Overeem, Stipe Miocic, Anthony Johnson
Last Fight: Decision win over Junior Albini

Fighter Profile: Arlovski is one of the sport’s all-time greats at heavyweight but he’s been on a horrible run as of late and it’s hard to say how much he has left in the tank at this point. Though he did pick up a decision win over Albini in his last fight, it was a very ugly fight, and prior to that Arlovski had lost five-straight fights, and he was brutally knocked out in most of those matchups. Arlovski is a very big heavyweight with knockout power and solid grappling, but his chin is not good and he tends to gas as the fights goes on. He still has the potential to pick up a surprising win once in a while, but it’s so hard to trust him at this point of his career.

Fight Breakdown: This is a pretty difficult fight to predict because both men have finishing power but they both have terrible chins. It might be the matchup between the two fighters with the weakest chins in the division. That being said, both guys have skills. Struve is more well-rounded as he can finish fights by submission in addition to knockouts, whereas Arlovski is primarily just a striker at this point of his career, though he has solid takedown defense. I think it’s likely this fight stays on the feet and since Struve has the longer reach he should be able to get to Arlovski’s chin and touch it. Struve is someone that’s hard to trust with you money considering how easy it is to knock him out, but I have to pick him here as the much younger fighter, and I’ll take Struve to win by knockout.

Prediction: TKO win for Stefan Struve

Written by Adam Martin.

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