On March the 3rd heavy handed, hard headed, heavyweight veteran Mark Hunt takes on the "Skyscraper" Stefan Struve in what should prove to be an entertaining bout. Hunt last fought Cheick Kongo over a year ago and won via KO. Struve is coming off his most impressive victory over heavily touted fighter Stipe Miocic.
So how do these two heavyweight competitors match up? Starting with the striking element of mixed martial arts, Mark Hunt is an accomplished K1 striker and has the majority of his MMA wins by KO. Hunt is known for the power he posses in his hands but he is more then just a brawler, Hunt is up there with best strikers in the UFC's heavyweight division. Despite his frame Hunt is an agile fighter and he will mix his boxing technique with an array of kicks to keep his opponents guessing. Hunt also has great movement for someone of his size and despite being small for a heavyweight at 5'10 he is an accurate strikers, who uses angles effectively and can find his range fairly quickly in a fight. Hunt is a deadly finisher and if he hurts his opponent he will usually finish them with a volley of vicious strikes.
Stefan Struve is a giant of a man at 7'0 feet tall however in past fights he had not really utilized his great reach advantage. In the Stipe Miocic fight we began to see the potential for Struve's striking as he used his range much more effectively peppering Miocic with a good jab throughout their contest. Struve does not have the striking experience or pedigree that Hunt has and will be at a disadvantage if the fight stays a striking contest. He will have to rely on his kicks and jab to keep Hunt from closing the distance and landing his power shots. In striking there is a clear advantage to Mark Hunt.
Next up we compare the two's grappling pedigree. Hunt's Achilles heel in MMA has always been his grappling as evidenced by his 6 submission losses. He has shown some improvement in his wrestling and ability to get back to his feet as shown in his fight against Ben Rothwell. Hunt has the type of frame that should aid his takedown defence as he is compact and has a lot of weight behind his hips however Struve usual method of takedown's comes from the clinch. He is very good at tripping his opponents and using his weight to pull them down to the ground. Despite the improvements Hunt has made he wants no part of Struve's ground game as this is where he will most likely come unstuck.
Struve is an excellent grappler and proficient from both his guard and in top position, he holds 16 victories via submission. Struve is the not the quickest or very agile and his does not use traditional wrestling to get his opponents on the ground due to his height, he is not afraid to jump guard in the clinch and as mentioned previously posses trips and throws to ground his opponent. In grappling there is a clear edge to Struve.
What are some other factors we should be aware of? Hunt is coming back from a long injury and a year long layoff at the age of 38 this could play a large factor in his cardiovascular performance and athletic ability. Struve is coming into this fight on the back of his most well rounded performance ever and at the age of 25 years old he looks to be coming into his prime. Struve had shown a good gas tank in previous fights that have gone into the later rounds and I believe he will have a cardio advantage in this fight.
The fight will take place in Japan where Hunt is known from his Pride FC days, he will probably be able to adjust to the environment quicker then Struve will.
This fight like the majority of fights comes down to who can implement their game plan more effectively? Hunts weakness is Struve's biggest strength this coinciding with Hunt's average takedown defense leads me to believe that Struve has the larger chance of victory in this fight. Hunt's best chance to land a big shot and put away Struve before they clinch up. I believe then that Hunt's chances of victory are around 30-35% the best odds currently available are +160 indicating a 38% probability. I think Struve's chances of victory are at 65-70% with his current odds at -170 indicating a 63% chance of victory.
The odds are pretty tight and I don't see a huge amount of value in them currently. I would advise then to either see if Stuve's line improves to the -160 or better and then make the a bet or wait for the submission prop to come out and take Struve by submission at -140 or better.
Odds available at http://www.bestfightodds.com/