Martin McNeil via SBNation
MMAmania's Brian Hemminger takes a look back at last night's UFC on FUEL TV 5 main event between heavyweights Stefan Struve and Stipe Miocic. What put "The Skyscraper" over the top and allowed him to hand Miocic his first career defeat? Find out inside.
Both men entered the bout riding three fight UFC winning streaks and with a ton of momentum in the division.
Something had to give.
After a strong start from Miocic, it looked like it would only be a matter of time until Struve was staring at the ceiling, but "The Skyscraper" once again showed off his excellent heart and made the proper adjustments.
So what helped put Struve over the top? And what happens next for both men? Our Stefan Struve vs. Stipe Miocic UFC on FUEL TV 5 post-fight review and analysis is posted below.
Early on, Miocic was showcasing some seriously superior striking technique, popping Struve with his straight left jab and getting inside to score with crisp combinations. He also did an excellent job of keeping the Dutch fighter guessing by mixing it up both to the head and the body with his punching attack.
Struve was not landing his punches well, but if he did anything correctly, it was his kicks which connected to the legs, body and even threatened the head a couple times. He also covered up and protected his head decently whenever Miocic closed the distance.
In the second round, Miocic looked like a completely different fighter. He slowed down considerably and this was when Struve picked up the pace. Finally, the big man started peppering Miocic with his left jab repeatedly and turning up the aggression as Miocic became more passive.
The aggression paid dividends as Miocic backed up, eating some shots and Struve swarmed him, landing some solid uppercuts on the inside before resetting.
Just when it seemed like Struve was in complete control, an overhand right from Miocic nearly dropped him. Miocic didn't follow up and after Struve composed himself, another uppercut hurt his opponent and Struve went for the kill.
Struve did not let Miocic off the hook, scoring with a huge right hand as the Croatian American backed into the cage. After a pair of uppercuts had Miocic on serious wobbly legs and turning away from the punishment, the referee Herb Dean stepped in and put a stop to it.
For Stipe Miocic, he did several things correctly early, but his killer instinct was lacking. He was finding a home for his right and left hands both to the head and body but he never followed up. It was just like he scored the combination and then reset to try it again. Struve has always been in trouble when his opponents pressured him and if Miocic had tried to swarm him, he potentially could have finished him. He also slowed drastically in the second round as Struve got stronger and that was a deadly combination.
He's still talented, but there are definitely some things to work on if he wants to take it to the next level. Potential next opponents for Miocic include Shawn Jordan, Christian Morecraft or Mike Russow.
For Stefan Struve, he's definitely starting to showcase some of the skills many fans had been hoping he'd be displaying due to his physical advantages in the Octagon. While he may always be a slow starter, he sure as hell knows how to finish. He did a decent job of avoiding major damage in the first round by covering up whenever Miocic threw combinations and he finally showcased a decent jab in the second round. His killer instinct if phenomenal and he made sure to not give Miocic any breathing room when he sensed he was hurt. At 24 years old, he's still got a ways to go, but he's well on his way if he can bring that second round version into the first round of the fight.
With a four fight winning streak, it's time for Struve to take on a big challenge again. Potential opponents include Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (if he gets past Dave Herman in two weeks).
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Have you soured on Miocic after his less-than-stellar second round? Can Struve ever be an elite heavyweight? Which of the two main eventers has the most potential?