Stefan Struve handed Stipe Miocic his first defeat at UFC on Fuel TV 5. | Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Perfect records tend not to last inside the Octagon.
Stefan Struve stopped the previously undefeated Stipe Miocic on second-round punches in the UFC on Fuel TV 5 headliner on Saturday at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. The first 7-footer ever to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Struve closed it out 3:50 into round two.
Miocic (9-1, 3-1 UFC) did some excellent work in the first round, as he ripped rights and lefts to the head and body of the 24-year-old Dutchman. The blows to Struve’s midsection might have paid serious dividends had the fight lasted longer. However, momentum abandoned Miocic in round two.
Struve (25-5, 9-3 UFC) looked like a different fighter, as he assumed a far more aggressive approach, with the right uppercut as his chief weapon. He had Miocic on the run more than once. After the Strong Style Fight Team member slipped near the cage, Struve unleashed two hellacious right crosses that permanently altered the direction of the bout. A series of uppercuts followed, and one final left hook was enough to force referee Herb Dean’s hand. Miocic slumped.
“I trained for five rounds, and I knew I had it in me,” Struve said. “I saw he really slowed down in that second round, and I landed a good uppercut. I always want to finish, so you know if I’ve got him rocked that I’m going in for the kill.”
Struve has stopped his last four opponents.
“I heard some complaints about my power in the past, but I think they might change their opinion right now,” he added. “I need to work on using my reach better. Some moments were pretty good, some weren’t so good, but I think I showed I have a good chin. I’ve got four wins in a row with four finishes, and [UFC President] Dana [White] said I’m about Top 5 in the world now, so I’m pretty proud as a 24-year-old.”
Resurgent Hardy Overwhelms Sadollah
A multi-pronged standup attack coupled with a series of well-disguised takedowns and ground-and-pound carried former welterweight title contender Dan Hardy to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah in the co-main event.
Hardy (25-10, 6-4 UFC) swept the scorecards by 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 counts.
After a competitive first round, Hardy unveiled some new wrinkles, and Sadollah (6-4, 6-4 UFC) did not appear to be prepared for them. His trademark left hook remained in play, but “The Outlaw” made his most significant moves on the ground. He secured multiple takedowns and consolidated them with punishment, slicing into Sadollah with short elbows from the top. It resulted in cuts around both eyes. Hardy punctuated his latest triumph with a beautiful combination on the feet in the closing seconds of round three, following a standing elbow with a crisp left hook.
“I’ve always dreamed of fighting here for the UFC,” said Hardy, a Nottingham native who had not fought in his hometown since 2008. “I’ve fought here at smaller shows before, but nothing compares to the big event. I thought I might have the tendency to go out and start trading punches. I like a war as much as you guys, but I’ve got to be smart and sensible and pick my shots. I had a good time tonight. I enjoyed it.”
Pickett Uppercut KOs Jabouin
American Top Team’s Brad Pickett knocked out Yves Jabouin with a ringing right uppercut 3:40 into the opening round of their featured bantamweight matchup.
Pickett (22-6, 2-1 UFC) waded through heavy fire to get what he wanted. Jabouin tagged him with high-velocity kicks to the leg and body, knees to the head and multi-punch combinations. Still, the man they call “One Punch” pressed forward undaunted. The uppercut sent Jabouin to the canvas in a dazed state, and a pair of right hands on the ground sealed his fate.
The 34-year-old Pickett has won 12 of his past 14 bouts.
Wiman Armbar Submits Sass
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 alum Matt Wiman submitted the previously unbeaten Paul Sass in a lightweight showcase. Wiman (15-6, 9-4 UFC) finished it 3:48 into round one.
Sass (13-1, 3-1 UFC) fired the first salvo, as the 24-year-old Team Kaobon representative delivered a takedown inside the first 10 seconds and attacked from top position with a few well-placed elbows. Sass tried for an ill-advised heel hook, briefly surrendering the high ground. He then swept into top position, avoided an attempted triangle choke and belted Wiman with right hands.
Moments later, the back-and-forth battle took its decisive turn. Wiman isolated the Brit’s arm from the bottom, rolled into a more advantageous position and, with Sass pinned hopelessly against the cage, extended the hold for the tapout.
“I just feel so humble,” said Wiman, who had not competed since Oct. 1. “I don’t know why. Maybe it was the year off, or maybe I just expect more of myself and just got more nervous. I just had a lot of respect for a guy who had never lost before. He’s never tasted that defeat. You have to take it from him. You can’t just go in there and try to break him. You have to beat him. I knew Sass was going to bring it, and I just feel lucky and blessed to be on the winning side.”
‘The Hitman’ Moves to 17-1
London Shootfighters standout John Hathaway utilized his sizeable reach advantage and some stellar topside grappling en route to a unanimous decision against John Maguire in a featured welterweight attraction. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Hathaway (17-1, 7-1 UFC).
The once-beaten Hathaway pressed the fight from the start and kept his crafty opponent at a safe distance, on the end of his punches and kicks. The 25-year-old struck for a takedown from the body lock position in the second round, passed the Maguire guard and racked up points with ground-and-pound.
Maguire made a late bid for victory, scoring with a takedown of his own in round three. He advanced to side control but could not capitalize on the opportunity. Hathaway ultimately reclaimed guard and freed himself from danger, short circuiting any potential for a Hail Mary submission from Maguire.
Ludwig Injury Gives Mills TKO
An apparent knee injury suffered by Duane Ludwig resulted in a premature technical knockout by Che Mills in a featherweight showcase. Ludwig (21-14, 4-5 UFC) collapsed to the canvas in visible pain 2:28 into round one, necessitating an immediate stoppage. “Bang” has lost three consecutive fights for the first time as a professional.
Mills (15-5, 2-1 UFC) dominated the match up until the injury. The 30-year-old former Cage Rage champion cut Ludwig underneath the right eye during an early exchange, took down the Grudge Training Center veteran with ease and grinded on him with elbows from side control.
“To be honest, there wasn’t really a set game plan,” said Mills, who won for the sixth time in seven appearances. “I’ve just been training so hard in all the areas, so I was [going to gauge] where I felt comfortable. The takedown was there, so I took it.”
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