Before Roy Nelson and Frank Mir fight it out for what looks like the right to fight Brock, two of the heavyweight divisions fastest rising stars will do battle. Hidden in the mesh of a division that is scattered with legends and perennial contenders, Stefan Struve and Travis Browne are two youngsters who harbour hopes of future title glory.
Stefan Struve, perhaps the most well-known out of the pair, is on a two fight win streak after his first round knockout loss to Roy Nelson. Struve has won 10 of his last 12, with the other loss coming via current number one contender Junior Dos Santos.
Travis Browne burst onto the UFC scene with a devastating knockout victory over James McSweeney. In his second fight, an indication of how impressive his previous finish was, he took on top heavyweight Chieck Kongo. The fight ended in a draw but you could argue that Browne was unfortunate not to get the victory.
As is often said, styles make fights. The key to this fight will surely be the area in which it takes place. Browne is a Muay Thai fighter with solid legs kicks and deadly knees. Struve is a submission fighter, with 14 of his 21 victories coming via submission.
Fittingly-named Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve is a fighter well-known for his rangy frame. He uses his reach to keep opponents at bay with the jab and utilises his long limbs to catch them in submissions on the ground.
Browne has shown in his last 2 fights that he is an aggressive fighter who looks to push the pace early doors. Although exciting, there was evidence of an empty gas tank towards the end of the Kongo fight. I have to suspect that he will be looking for an early finish against Struve, and he’s more than capable of getting it. Browne has won 8 of his 10 wins via KO/TKO and 5 of them were in under a minute.
The outcome of this fight is hard to predict. I can’t see Struve taking Browne down due to Browne’s size and, despite having a purple belt in BJJ, I don’t see Browne wanting to engage in a ground battle with Struve. I feel Struve may have to gut out a first round onslaught from the former Gladiator Challenge Heavyweight Champion but will then have the advantage over a wilting Browne.
The fact that elite strike Chieck Kongo resorted to take downs against Browne is a clear indication of the ferocious intensity Browne presses on the feet. His striking appears wild but is effective. Struve possesses knockout power on the feet but won’t have his usual distinct reach advantage. If he can drag Browne to the ground, even by pulling guard, you have to feel a submission could be on the cards.
Prediction: Struve via Decision
Written by: Morgan Mcleary