Stefan Struve has 15 submissions on his resume. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Stefan Struve (22-5, 6-3 UFC) vs. Dave Herman (21-2, 1-0 UFC)
The Matchup: One way or another, Struve’s fights tend to be exciting. Only one of the Dutchman’s nine UFC appearances has gone the distance: a majority decision win over Paul Buentello in 2009. Most recently, Struve submitted kickboxing specialist Pat Barry at UFC Live 6, where the Louisianan was unable to slam his way out of a triangle choke. Although he did absorb his share of punishing leg kicks, Struve showed a better understanding of how to control distance against Barry. If the 23-year-old is to continue to improve, he must further take advantage of his 83-inch reach.
Herman, a Sengoku Raiden Championship veteran, made his Octagon debut at UFC 131, where he earned a technical knockout win over John Olav Einemo. While knees in the clinch and a powerful left hook carried the Fort Wayne, Ind., native to victory, it was his ability to escape from Einemo -- a 2003 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist -- on the ground that was most notable.
Herman is not averse to taking risks on the feet -- jumping knees, kicks, etc. -- but that wide-open style can leave him open to counters. Struve is vulnerable to such attacks, as Travis Browne showed by knocking him out with a Superman punch at UFC 130, but he is also capable of taking advantage when an opponent gets too reckless. “Skyscraper” displays good composure in guard, where he can use the long limbs of his 6-foot-11 frame to trap his opponent in a variety of submissions. Struve will once again be at a strength disadvantage against Herman, who should be able to score takedowns at will. As he did against Einemo, Herman will benefit from a cautious approach in Struve’s guard. Succumbing to the urge to whale away with ground-and-pound could end with Herman tapping out to a triangle or armbar.
On the feet, Struve can score points with solid straight punches, as well as kicks, to keep Herman at bay. Herman can outmuscle Struve in the clinch, but the Team Schrijber representative’s length allows him to string together multiple submissions in such situations. Against Barry, for example, Struve transitioned from a standing brabo choke to a guillotine in full guard before applying the decisive triangle.
The Pick: Herman will not be able to resist going for broke against such a large target, but that will ultimately prove to be his downfall. As long as Struve can avoid getting caught by the home run shot, his overall skill and experience against tougher competition should give him an edge. He submits Herman in round two.
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