Struve had the reach, Barry had the striking credentials, and Struve had the serious edge once the fight went to the ground.
"The Skyscraper" didn't possess solid wrestling or takedown skills, so how'd he get Barry to play his game on the canvas and eventually earn an exciting submission victory over "HD" with a triangle choke?
We'll explain inside as well as tell you where each fighter goes from here.
Understandably, having both been the victims of some pretty vicious knockouts the last time they competed inside the Octagon, Barry and Struve played it relatively safe in the first round.
The only real damage that was done were some nice leg kicks coming from Barry's end. He peppered Struve's lead left leg with both inside and outside kicks, although nothing serious enough to make the big man stagger. To Struve's credit, he utilized his reach advantage slightly better than in past efforts, throwing a push kick to keep Barry at bay. The problem with this was he kept Barry so far away with the push kick that he couldn't follow up with anything and land any significant strikes of his own.
Things began to heat up in round two. Barry finally got inside and landed two really solid strikes to Struve's chin and then inexplicably backed off when he was in a position to potentially drop the giant Dutchman. This would come back to haunt him not much soon after.
With 2:25 left in the round, Struve closed the distance with a knee and some punches and Barry chose a very unfortunate time to duck forward and clinch. Struve immediately ducked down looking for a guillotine choke, even threading his arm through and attempting a standing D'Aarce choke as well.
With a firm overhook on Barry and his neck trapped, Struve felt confident enough to drop to his back and roll Barry over on the canvas. Barry wisely rolled into top side control to escape the choke but his lack of awareness on the ground came back to bite him.
Struve easily retained guard, reaching out with his right arm for leverage, lifted his left leg over Barry's right shoulder, isolating Barry's left arm. He then slipped his right leg over his left ankle to lock in the triangle choke.
Due to Barry's lack of technical skill in submissions, his only escape was to power out of the choke with a slam. It was wild to see the nearly seven footer lifted over Barry's head and slammed to the canvas but Struve wisely stuck his right elbow out to absorb some of the impact and then also attacked Barry's left arm with an armbar as well to force the tap.
For Pat Barry, he was doing pretty good in this fight until he let Struve drag him to the ground. Perhaps that was one of the reasons he wasn't very aggressive with his punches, because he was afraid of the clinch and the potential takedowns that would come out of it. Regardless, he should have been more aggressive with his striking. He was finding a home for his leg kicks and Struve definitely was not exactly dominating with his reach like it appeared. The openings were there, especially after Barry tagged Struve in the first 30 seconds of round two, he just didn't follow-up.
Barry is a likeable fighter, fights a fan-friendly style and especially because of the lack of depth in the heavyweight division, he'll live to see another day. I wouldn't be surprised to see him fight someone like Ben Rothwell, Rob Broughton or Christian Morecraft next.
For Stefan Struve, he still has a long ways to go before he's actually learning to utilize his big reach advantage. The push kick is a start but he also needs to really stiffen up his jab and start blasting opponents with that 83 inch reach. The most promising thing about this fight was that he came in at 261 pounds. Hopefully the next time out, he's actually having to cut weight to make the 265 pound limit. It's about time he packed on more muscle to that giant frame.
If the UFC is in the mood for craziness, they may match Struve up with another kickboxer in Mark Hunt, that would be pretty wild. Other possibilities are Brendan Schaub or perhaps Mike Russow after the whole Dave Herman fight fell through.
So what do you think Maniacs?
Will Struve ever be able to live up to the hype that comes with his giant size? What in the world can be done with Pat Barry?
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All gifs by Zombie Prophet via IronForgesIron.com.