Stefan Struve has seen better days.
The 7-foot “Skyscraper” suffered a third-round technical knockout at the hands of former K-1 grand prix champion Mark Hunt (Pictured) at UFC on Fuel TV 8, crashing to the canvas in the night’s heavyweight co-headliner. Though Hunt’s decision to walk away from his fallen foe at first appeared hasty, referee Herb Dean soon waved off the contest after communicating with the beaten Struve.
“Thanks for the support everybody,” Struve tweeted after his defeat at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. “I wanted Herb to take the tooth out of my cheek [so I could] continue, but then it turned out my jaw was broken.”
Struve must now stay in Japan to tend to his jaw before he flies home. Though Sunday’s result snaps a four-fight winning streak for the 25-year-old, it garners Hunt his fourth consecutive win. Out of action since February 2012 due to injury, Hunt said he found it hard to settle into a rhythm against his seven-foot foe.
“I was just trying to get my timing right. I couldn’t get the rhythm right. It’s hard to find [a sparring partner] like Struve. He’s a big cat,” Hunt told Fox Sports. “It was [a great fight]. Well, on his part it was. I was getting tagged a lot. My timing was off, and I couldn’t put things together, but I was glad to get the win. It’s been awhile.”
Despite Hunt’s described difficulty in locating his range, the kickboxing ace appeared to find his greatest success in the standup. Nevertheless, the 38-year-old continually engaged the Dutchman on the ground, defying the young gun’s well-documented submission skills before finally connecting with the shot for which he had been searching. With both men fatigued in the final frame, the stocky heavyweight bounced a right straight off of Struve’s forehead and then buried his young opponent with that definitive left hook.
The victory now a reflection in Hunt’s rearview mirror, the former Pride Fighting Championships talent served notice to the entire heavyweight division, with the exception of his American Top Team colleague, Antonio Silva. When asked whether he was planning a run at the UFC heavyweight title, Hunt did not mince words, responding simply, “Of course.”