Popping the Dutchman
UFC on Fuel 5 delivered the kinds of fights Dana White prays for in events offered for free on TV, fights that pique the curiosity of fans who’ve never seen a PPV. The last two fights featured gutsy mixed martial artists using highly technical striking that brought fans to their feet.
Stefan ‘Skyscraper’ Struve took the first round to look ordinary while finding his range. Listed now at 7’0”---he’s grown an inch in the last few months I guess---keeping opponents out of range with his pointed jabs and powerful leg kicks should be a no-brainer. But his opponent, Stipe Miocic, found a way to get inside and pop the big Dutchman.
Hitting Struve and hurting him are distinctly different accomplishments, though. The idea is to punch through an opponent, and that’s hard to do when you have to reach just to get a glancing blow. Miocic used body shots in an attempt to make a difference, but Struve took it in stride, as most Dutch strikers are apt to do.
Struve found a regular home for his jab in round two, as well as a straight right that jack hammered Miocic. The affect was energy draining for Stipe. The finish came at 3:50 of round two, with a flurry of kicks and punches. A straight right was the beginning of the end, which Skyscraper followed with a flurry of brutalizing uppercuts.
Both fighters can be deemed ‘developing’, but Struve’s victory isn’t surprising. Although Miocic was undefeated, Struve has fought tougher competition, including current champion Junior dos Santos. With four straight finishes, Struve may be on a fast track for a rematch with the Brazilian.
Muay Thai ace Amir Sadollah found himself on the business end of another Muay Thai ace, Dan 'The Outlaw' Hardy. Sadollah typically peppers opponents with high-volume, sound technical punches and kicks, and began the tradition in the first against a sluggish Hardy. However, Hardy stepped up in the second.
Hardy’s plan was simple: change levels and get Sadollah down. The effect was to confuse the American, to get him thinking about one technique while Hardy applied the other. Hardy’s left hook was a big factor, as always, and in the end The Brit won a deserved decision over an overwhelmed Sadollah, to the delight of Hardy’s hometown Nottingham fans.
Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett lived up to his nickname, KOing Yves 'Tiger' Jabouin in the first round, but not after being picked apart by the Tristar member. Jabouin looked to be the bigger, stronger, better prepared striker Saturday, but Pickett patiently assessed Jaboiun’s timing and landed a single, fight-ending uppercut at 3:40 into round one, a la Junior dos Santos.
It had been four years since ‘One Punch’ had KOed anybody.
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