Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight veterans Stefan Struve and Daniel Omelianczuk scrapped last night (Oct. 8, 2016) at UFC 204 inside Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
In the four fights since his brief retirement, Struve never really impressed. More than anything, Struve needed to prove that he could perform consistently opposite an opponent who has been nothing if not regular. Omielanczuk has never done anything spectacular inside the Octagon, but he won a trio of bouts heading into this match up. With a chance to score the biggest win of his career on a high-profile event, the pressure was on "The Polish Bear" to exceed expectations.
Both men entered the first round with smart game plans. Omielanczuk looked to land counter low kicks and burst in with looping punches, whereas Struve was intent to maintain his distance and smash his opponent with long range kicks.
With both men landing some nasty shots, Omielanczuk looked for a takedown against the fence. However, it was Struve who landed the counter trip takedown. The larger man quickly advanced through his opponent’s guard, moving into mount and back mount.
He was unable to finish before the round ended, but Struve’s grappling handed him the round.
Despite getting thrown around last time, Omielanczuk immediately pushed his way into the clinch. Once again, Struve scored with his slick inside trip, landing in a dominant position. Omielanczuk attempted to use an underhook to scramble back to his feet. Unfortunately for the Polish athlete, Struve’s stupidly long arms are perfect for a d’arce choke, and the submission ace wasted little time in locking in the choke.
His opponent attempted to buck his way out, but he was forced to tap before long (watch video highlights here).
This was Struve’s best performance in years. He still has the issue of backing away with his head high -- which will undoubtedly land him on the wrong side of the knockout sometime in the future — but Struve made clear attempts to fight long.
When Struve kicks, it’s impressively powerful. Even when his kicks — front, snap, or round — are blocked, they leave an impressive impact. Simply put, they really hurt and definitely wear his opponent down.
On the ground, Struve continues to be one of the division’s best grapplers. His ability to flow from position to position was very slick, and his fight-finishing d’arce was more than slick.
Struve called out a top five foe, but that’s unrealistic. Someone else in the bottom half of the top 15 like Ruslan Magomedov would make more sense.
Omielanczuk’s strategy in the first round was smart. He landed some hard low kicks, and his ability to slip inside and land looping punches was definitely a threat to Struve’s jawline. Even the first takedown attempt wasn’t unreasonable, as Omielanczuk is historically a strong grappler.
However, Struve quickly made it apparent that he was the superior wrestler and submission fighter. When Omielanczuk dove for the takedown in the second, it was incredibly unlikely to work out well for him.
When a fighter likely needs a knockout to win, clinching up is hardly a good decision.
Either way, Omielanczuk’s win streak has come to an end. He won’t slide down the ranks too far, but he’ll need to put together another win streak to fight another veteran like Struve. In all likelihood, he’ll get a rising prospect like Curtis Blaydes next.
Last night at UFC 204, Stefan Struve choked out Daniel Omielanczuk. Can Struve put it all together and go on a win streak?
For complete UFC 204: "Bisping vs Henderson" results and play-by-play, click HERE!