Stefan Struve vs Jared Rosholt Preview and Analysis – UFC 193

LEGACY 17Kicking off the main card of UFC 193 is a heavyweight contest between #14 ranked Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve and Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt. Struve recently got back into the win column with a decision victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, while Rosholt has racked up consecutive wins over Josh Copeland and Timothy Johnson.   Stefan Struve (26-7 MMA, 10-5 MMA, -115 favorite) Struve has been in the UFC for an awful long time for someone that is only 27 years old. He signed with the promotion in 2008 and made his debut in early 2009, when he was only 21 years old. The Dutch kickboxer has had his ups and downs since entering the promotion, but is coming off a one-sided win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in August. Prior to his win over Nogueira, Struve suffered consecutive knockout losses to Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. It is worth noting that after his fight against Hunt doctors discovered that he was suffering from a leaking aortic valve as well as an enlarged heart. Those conditions put him on the shelf for 21 months. Struve holds notable wins over Nogueira, Stipe Miocic, and Pat Barry. The 27 year old Struve is a well-rounded mixed martial artist that can win fights both on the feet and on the ground. His striking repertoire consists of a stiff jab, straight right hand, and several different types of kicks to all levels. Struve likes to use a front kick to his opponent’s body to back them up and keep them at a distance. This allows him to be able to hit his opponents from a distance where they cannot hit him. However, Struve does not always follow this gameplan. He has had trouble in the past with using his reach to keep his opponents at bay. Struve’s opponents are able to close the distance and get within their striking or wrestling range rather easily at times. I am sure he has been working at fixing this problem, but I have not seen any huge improvements. Other issues regarding Struve’s game is his striking defense and chin. He tends to hold his chin high and lacks proper head movement. Further, he also has a very questionable chin, as he has been knocked out on six different occasions. One of the most underrated aspects of Struve’s arsenal is his ground game. He has extremely slick submission skills and routinely hits armbars and triangles on his opponents. Further, Struve has excellent sweeps off his back, which obviously allow him to attain top position. Struve’s guard is a dangerous place to be for most fighters. However, he does not have the wrestling to get his fights to the ground so he is sometimes forced to pull guard or work his magic after he gets knocked down.   Jared Rosholt (13-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC, -105 underdog) Rosholt has made quite a mark since entering the UFC in late 2013. He has compiled a 5-1 record, with his only loss coming in a fight he was dominating but ended up getting caught when he got too reckless. The 29 year old is the most decorated heavyweight wrestler in the history of the Oklahoma State University wrestling program. He was a three time Division One All-American, a 4 time Division One Qualifier, and the 2010 NCAA Runner-up.  Those accolades are an excellent background to have when you fight in a cage for a living. Obviously, Rosholt’ bread and butter is his wrestling. He uses a variety of techniques to get his opponents to the canvas, including single and double-legs, trips, and throws. Once he establishes top position he is fairly inactive and tries to conserve energy. However, Rosholt has been attempting some topside submission fights in recent fights, even though he has not won any fights by submission in the UFC. This shows that he has been learning from his coaches at Team Takedown in Texas, which has great coaches like Mar Laimon and Kenny Monday. One drawback from being inactive on top position is that the referee will often stand the fighters up. This is bad for Rosholt because he has to spend a lot more energy trying to take his opponent down and keeping them there, which is even harder when he is already tired by that point. The area where Rosholt needs the most work is his striking and defense. His striking is still a work in progress and he is often reluctant to engage against superior strikers. The Texas native has a decent jab and power in his other strikes, so it is obvious that he has been working hard on his striking. However, in a fight he decided to try out his new striking and not wrestle, he got brutally knocked out. That leads to his other problem, striking defense. Rosholt is fairly easy to hit and does not utilize proper head movement. Further, he often fails to bring hi hands back to protect his head when he fires a combination. That is a big problem because his chin is not very good, as he has been knocked out cold twice and badly rocked on several other occasions.   Thoughts This is a tough fight to call because each fighter has sizeable advantages over the other in certain disciplines. This fight would be a lot easier for Struve to win if he was better at keeping his opponents at a distance. However, since that is not the case I believe Rosholt will be able to get inside and work Struve up against the clinch, where he will ultimately look for takedowns. Rosholt will have to be careful when he achieves top position, but I am not too worried about him getting submitted because he ends most of his takedowns with him in either half-guard or side control. Rosholt will have to do that for three rounds without gassing out badly to win. Struve, on the other hand, can win this fight by knockout or submission. He has a sizeable height and reach advantage and will likely attempt to pick apart Rosholt from the outside. Struve may also have some chances to secure a submission on the ground if Rosholt gets sloppy. Out of all the scenarios I listed, I think Rosholt grinding out Struve with his wrestling and top control is the most likely to occur. I would not be shocked at all if Struve finished this fight inside three rounds, especially if Rosholt gasses, but I am going to side with Rosholt here.   The Prediction Jared Rosholt defeats Stefan Struve by unanimous decision

Written by Mike James

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