UFC 175 Play: Matt Mitrione (+140) vs Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve (-160)

Stefan StruveUFC 175 Date: July 5, 2014 Arena: Mandalay Bay Events Center City: Las Vegas, NV Heavyweight bout: Matt Mitrione (+140) vs Stefan Struve (-160) Fight Breakdown: The UFC 175 main card on Pay Per View will be featuring a heavyweight tilt between The Ultimate Fighter season 10 veteran Matt Mitrione and the Dutchman, Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve. Mitrione is an underdog heading into this contest at +140 ($100 to win $140), with “The Skyscraper” being a -160 ($160 to win $100) favorite at Several Bookmakerss in his return to the Octagon. Matt Mitrione (7-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is the only fighter on the UFC roster other than Amir Sadollah that has had all of his professional mixed martial arts bouts inside the Octagon. He now comes off a first round knockout over Jackson-Winklejohn MMA product Shawn Jordan with only a second remaining in the very first round. Now four months later, he hopes to make it two in a row against Struve, as he looks to climb his way up the heavyweight rankings. The former football player is very fast and athletic, and he packs a lot of power behind his strikes, especially his right hand, as was evident by his one-punch, walk-off knockout of Christian Morecraft, not to mention the fact that Phil De Fries got knocked out just running into him. He lacks a ground game, but he has constantly been improving his striking, especially now that he is working with the great Henri Hooft at the Blackzilians camp in Boca Raton, FL. The 35-year old is technical and effective with his strikes, but does not always have the best fight IQ. Sometimes he starts out fighting smart, but then makes errors that cost him. A positive note about “Meathead” is that unlike most heavyweights, he possesses excellent cardio; largely in part due to his background in football. Needless to say, I think Mitrione is a well-conditioned athlete, and I expect him to be ready for 15 minutes of action against the Dutchman, should the fight go the distance. Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve (25-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC) last saw action over a year ago, suffering a broken jaw in a third round TKO at the hands of Mark Hunt. Issues with the seven foot tall fighter’s enlarged heart, as well as the broken jaw have kept him out of action. His jaw has fully healed and the condition of his heart has improved, largely in part due to medication he has been taking for it, and with that, “The Skyscraper” is ready to make his return to the Octagon, likely looking to make a statement. Struve is a skilled striker who owns a black belt in kickboxing, which is the area of martial arts he started out in. He is however mostly known for his incredible Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in which he also owns a black belt. The 26-year old is very talented on the mat, owning 16 of 25 of his professional mixed martial arts career victories by way of submission. He is certainly a finisher, as he also owns seven wins via T/KO and has only been to the judges’ scorecards once in 31 professional bouts. That fight was against veteran Paul Buentello at UFC 107 four and a half years ago, and Struve was the victor that evening, taking home a majority decision on the judges’ scorecards. Struve’s main weakness throughout his career has certainly been his chin, so he will be looking to avoid Mitrione’s power shots. A big question mark for Struve heading into this heavyweight tilt will be his cardio, especially considering his lengthy layoff. Gabe’s Thoughts: I think the wisest gameplan for Struve heading into this bout would be one identical to the one he used against Lavar Johnson. He should immediately clinch up and pull guard, a position where he is very dangerous, then lock up a submission. Jiu-Jitsu is Mitrione’s weakness, as it was Johnson’s, so I expect Struve to look to exploit it early for another first round finish for his resume and a $50,000 ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus for his wallet. If this fight hits the judges’ scorecards, I think it could go either way. I could see these two heavyweights going the distance, but I favor a finish, mostly Struve by Submission. I think Mitrione could earn a T/KO here, but I think Struve could submit him, as well as T/KO him. I think Struve simply has more routes to victory in this match-up, and the most possible outcome and easiest route for him is to take the fight to the mat and lock something up, even if has to pull guard in order to accomplish that goal. Gabe’s Call: “The Skyscraper” by Technical Submission (triangle choke, 0:51 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Struve (-160) 4u to win 2.5u

Written by Gabe Killian

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