Stefan Struve earned yet another come-from-behind victory Wednesday night, rallying to stop Dave Herman in the second round of their co-headlining heavyweight attraction at UFC on Fuel TV 1.
Known as a slow starter, the Dutchman took his time in finding his range at the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Neb. Round one belonged to Herman, who deftly maneuvered inside the massive reach of his 6-foot-11 opponent to deliver crisp punch combinations.
“I decided to not go all-out in the first round. I think the jet lag caught up with me this week. I slept like four or five hours every night, and I’m used to nine or 10,” Struve told Fox Sports following his second-round technical knockout win. “I wasn’t down on myself [in round one], but I was feeling a little out of the fight. [In round two], I saw he was getting tired, and I was feeling good.”
It was at that time that Struve (Pictured, file photo) finally located his rhythm, rifling off combinations from distance and scoring with a takedown that briefly landed him in the mount.
“We’ve been working really hard on my striking. I’ve been with my coach, Bob Schrijber, for 10 years now. Everything seems to be falling together,” said Struve. “I’m using my reach, and I seem to be getting bigger and stronger. It felt like everything was going smooth today. I thought he would be harder to take down, but when I had my grip on him, he went really easy. You don’t want me on top of you [using] ground-and-pound.”
Struve eventually connected with a game-changer, buckling his smaller adversary with a beautiful right uppercut and pursuing Herman to the floor, where the “Skyscraper” transitioned seamlessly from side control back to the mount. Though the American managed to escape the position once, Struve would not allow it a second time, dropping punches from top position and forcing referee Josh Rosenthal to intervene.
“You learn from every fight. For next time, I may start faster, because I know I have the energy for three rounds. We train so hard. [Fights are only] three rounds of five minutes, you know?” Struve explained. “You train 10 or 20 times that every day. I was just feeling it out. I was really relaxed, and I liked that. I’m getting more relaxed every time [I fight] in the UFC.”
Struve has professed for nearly a year that he plans to eventually shed his beanpole aesthetic and bulk up to around 290 pounds before cutting down to the heavyweight limit. The fighter, who weighed in at 256 pounds prior to Wednesday’s contest, asserts that he is beginning to reap the benefits of his concerted effort to pack on the pounds naturally.
“In the past, I doubted my strength, and I tried to throw every shot as hard as possible,” said Struve. “If you look at me now, it’s way more technical. I just really place it perfectly, and I know I have the power to put someone down.”