The night's co-main event is a heavyweight scrap between Stefan Struve and Dave "Peewee" Herman. Just a few years ago both were considered bright prospects in the always-thin heavyweight division, and while Struve has fallen against top tier competition, Herman remains untested at the top of the sport, and will look to catapult from this win into just such a test.
Struve is the tallest fighter in the UFC, and after debuting just two days after his 21st birthday was one of the youngest debuting fighters ever in the promotion. Struve’s relatively-slight build for a heavyweight, combined with his long limbs, makes a unique match-up for any opponent he is paired with.
Struve is on an impressive 6-2 run in the UFC since dropping his debut to Junior Dos Santos, however the Dutch giant has been unable to string together a long chain of victories in his UFC tenure to-date. His three fight winning streak was snapped by a Roy Nelson TKO, and after scoring TKO wins over Christian Morecraft and Sean McCorkle, Struve was again stopped early, this time by Travis Browne. Struve managed to avoid his first ever consecutive losses by trading blows in a tight first round against Pat Barry, then locking on a fight-ending triangle and surviving a Barry slam which only tightened the hold in the second round.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The long and relatively-lean frame of Struve provides both his greatest strengths and weaknesses inside the cage. On the mat Struve’s long limbs make it easier for him to catch opponents with submissions, and he has finished half his wins with taps. His reach allows Struve to keep opponents on the outside of their own range when Struve is properly working his jab and straight punches. On the other hand, when opponents are able to get inside on Struve, he is often outmuscled and able to be battered by tight punches, which cost Struve dearly in losses to Nelson and dos Santos, and nearly did in his bout with Paul Buentello.
I strongly dislike this match-up for Struve. While Herman didn’t dazzle in his debut, he doesn’t have a history of breaking easily, and has lots of power in his hands which makes me doubtful Struve can last 15 minutes against him. If Struve is to win, it will likely come by way of an early submission so take him in round one with the tap. In fantasy betting Struve is a +100, slightly less payoff than the Vegas books, and I’d advise against playing on the Dutchman in any form.
Dave Herman analysis after the jump.
Herman was considered one of the hottest prospects in the heavyweight division, and his signing with Elite XC was met with great excitement. His undefeated record was lost when he suffered a TKO defeat to Choi Mu Bae, but Herman was able recover from the set back and finally find his was to the UFC.
Herman has fought seven times since his first career loss, with the only loss since coming as a result of disqualification when Herman hit Sokoudjou with illegal knees. Herman has sandwiched three fight winning streaks around the loss, knocking out Josh Barnes, Don Frye and Jim York prior to the DQ, and submitting Michal Kita then taking a decision from Yoshihiro Nakao to earn his UFC debut. Herman took on Golden Glory’s BJJ black belt John-Olav Einemo, and while both men had each other rocked during the bout, took home the TKO victory near the midpoint of the fight.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Herman is a fighter out of the famed Team Quest gym, and as such has had ample opportunity to work on his wrestling with some of the best in the business. By using that wrestling to keep fights standing, Herman has proven to be a devastating knockout artist, with fifteen KO victories and a pair of submission-to-punches victories in his 21 career wins. While he had previously only shown rear naked chokes in his two true submissions prior, Herman displayed a dangerous ground game as well in locking on a fight-ending omoplata against Kita, proving he can be dangerous wherever the fight goes.
As the stronger man, and having experienced training at a wrestling-heavy gym, Herman should be able to control where this fight takes place against Struve, and that is a dangerous proposition for the tall Dutchman. Take Herman to get inside Struve’s range and hit the big tree until it falls over late in the first round.