Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight veterans Marcin Tybura and Stefan Struve will duel this Sunday (July 22, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 134 inside Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
Tybura cut his teeth in the M-1 Global promotion, winning and defending their Heavyweight crown. Although his UFC results have been mixed, “Tybur” has nonetheless proved himself a top 10 fighter and valuable member of the roster due to the high-level of competition faced.
Struve is close to celebrating a decade of UFC competition, but unfortunately the lanky Dutchman has lost his last two fights. On the bright side, the defeats came to a fairly high-level of competition, Struve was competitive in defeat, and his lights were never completely put out.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man.
Key Wins: Andrei Arlovski (UFC Fight Night 111), Viktor Pesta (UFC Fight Night 92), Luis Henrique (UFC 209), Damian Grabowski (M-1 Challenge 50)
Key Losses: Fabricio Werdum (UFC Fight Night 121), Derrick Lewis (UFC Fight Night 126), Timothy Johnson (UFC Fight Night 86)
Keys to Victory: Tybura is definitely more technical than the average Heavyweight. On the feet, he combines deceptively fast kicks with accurate counter punching, and he’s more than willing to change things up and grind for takedowns if necessary.
The Pole has finished 13 of his victories.
In this bout, the takedown definitely seems the way to go. For much of Struves’ career, he fought brawlers who had no idea what jiu-jitsu was. When they fatigued and decided to take him down, Struve went with it and threw up his crazy long legs, wrapping up some type of submission.
As a result, Struve never bothered really learning to defend the takedown: his defensive wrestling is abysmal. Tybura’s offensive wrestling is more than enough to get him down, and once on top, his grappling is definitely sound. Tybura would be wise to watch out for Struve’s submissions, but he should be able to control his foe without too much trouble from top position.
Key Wins: Stipe Miocic (UFC on FUEL TV 5), Daniel Omielanczuk (UFC 204), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC 190), Antonio Silva (UFC Fight Night 87)
Key Losses: Alexander Volkov (UFC Fight Night 115), Jared Rosholt (UFC 193), Alistair Overeem (UFC on FOX 13), Mark Hunt (UFC on Fuel TV 8), Travis Browne (UFC 130)
Keys to Victory: Struve sits on the MMA Hall of Fame in the “What If?” category. For his entire UFC tenure, fans have speculated just how good Struve could be if he only learned to maximize his reach. In almost 10 years, Struve has certainly made progress in that area, but it’s been glacially slow and relegated only to his offense.
On the bright side, Struve’s 17 submisison victories are certainly impressive.
Struve is definitely going to get taken down in this fight, so his priority needs to be making Tybura work. Lately, “Skyscraper” has been far too inactive. Tybura is likely not going to finish Struve; he’s working towards a three round decision victory, so Struve has to force him to exhaust himself and catch him late like Derrick Lewis just did.
Aside from throwing lots of strikes and aiming at the mid-section and legs, Struve needs to actually work to defend takedowns. He has the bizarre habit of just falling over when opponent’s get the body lock — it should not be that easy to clinch with such a tall athlete! Struve has to decide early on that he’s going to fight off takedowns and threaten submissions, as that will really make Tybura’s life more difficult compared to just working from guard.
Bottom Line: It’s a solid upper mid-level Heavyweight scrap.
Of the two, Tybura has the higher ceiling and has more to gain by getting back in the win column. Still relatively early in both his career and life, Tybura already has a technically sound game and is still improving. Between his skill set, conditioning, and toughness, Tybura is definitely a potential contender in the making.
He just has to beat Struve to prove it.
As for the Dutchman, little improvements are not enough to get excited anymore. Nearly 40 fights in, Struve needs a full on Robbie Lawler-type career revival. If he goes out and manages to both follow a game plan and take out a top 10 fighter, that would go a long way in inspiring some hope for his future.
At UFC Fight Night 134, Marcin Tybura and Stefan Struve will square off. Which athlete will earn the victory?