Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight veterans Stefan Struve and Jared Rosholt went head-to-head last night (Nov. 14, 2015) at UFC 193 inside Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
The last couple years have been rough on Struve, as health issues unrelated to fighting nearly ended his career. However, he's returned to the cage and win column since, and he was looking to build a new win streak last night.
Meanwhile, Rosholt was looking to earn the biggest win of his career. As one of the heavyweight division's few prospects, this was a major opportunity for Rosholt to insert himself into the title mix.
To start the fight, Struve took the center of the Octagon and began stalking his opponent. Despite that, he didn't throw all that much, and Rosholt managed to catch a kick and land a takedown at about the halfway point in the round.
From top position, Rosholt did a nice job controlling his opponent and even passed guard, but he did little damage. This continued until the end of the round, as neither fighter accomplished all that much.
Nevertheless, Rosholt's top control definitely earned him the opening round.
Struve continued to move forward to start the second round, and he defended his opponent's first takedown. However, before he could really open up with his strikes, Rosholt scored with another takedown.
Though Struve was more active with his attempts to scramble, Rosholt remained tight. Still, the All-American wrestler did next to nothing with his top position, as he was content to merely lay on top of his opponent.
For the second round in a row, Rosholt controlled top position, but nothing really happened.
Finally, Struve began to open up a bit with his strikes. It was a far cry from the levels of aggression that Struve needed to show considering his deficit in the scorecards, but it was nonetheless an improvement over his nonexistent offense in the first two rounds.
After having his first few takedowns denied, Rosholt completed one with about a minute remaining. Struve managed to work back up and land a takedown of his own, but the clock ran out on the Dutchman.
Ultimately, all three judges awarded Rosholt two of the three rounds.
Rosholt may have earned the victory, but it was far from impressive. The wrestler did absolutely nothing with his top position and never landed anything significant on the feet. This was the absolute definition of a lay-and-pray victory.
Worse still, Rosholt faded badly in the third round for the second straight fight. Considering his lack of finishing ability, that simply cannot happen. If he can't finish fights and cannot compete for the full 15 minutes, he's going to get hurt by most men in the top 15.
Nonetheless, Rosholt did earn the biggest win of his career. Following this victory, a match up with fellow rising heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov would be a solid style clash.
For the third fight in a row, this is a fight where Struve's offensive output was disappointing. He threw a fair bit of volume at Nogueira, but that's because the Brazilian simply tried to walk into him. Since returning to the Octagon, Struve has seemed gun shy, which is a truly terrible trait for a heavyweight.
Unless Struve can figure out how to pull the trigger again, he's not likely to win many fights. Struve has never been known for his one-shot knockout power -- at least compared to other heavyweights -- so volume absolutely has to be on his side.
It's tough to see where Struve goes from here. Above all else, he needs to fix his head, as Struve's technical striking does appear improved. Perhaps a major step back is what Struve needs, as a couple victories could restore his confidence.
Last night, Jared Rosholt laid on Stefan Struve for the majority of three rounds. Where does the wrestler go from here?
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