Sure, he might be better in another 2 years, but that thought doesn’t help me much now while I have to watch him bumble around the cage like a giant baby giraffe. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear hidden inside Struve’s chest cavity is a little dwarf frantically trying to operate a complicated system of gears and pullies to make him go. The result: his battle with Paul Buentello at UFC 107 was one of the sloppiest fights I’ve ever seen. Buentello obviously wasn’t used to having to punch at such an extreme upward angle and Struve complimented his awkward striking with even more awkward footwork, literally taking little ballerina hops from time to time for no apparent reason.
Struve is as bad as a guy with all his physical advantages can be. I’d geek out on his submission skills but you all saw him trying to secure a choke on Paul Buentello for three minutes, right? How about that oh so slick leg something he tried in the above picture. You can see more disheartening exhibits of terrible jiu jitsu in Struve’s back and forth battle with Denis Stojnic. At least the dude understands the concept of a triangle and constantly uses it to his advantage, but that’s about it.
Now I might just be crazy. I don’t hear anyone else talking up how terrible Struve was, and it might be I just have a hate on for graceless, sloppy jiu jitsu. But surely he doesn’t deserve these kinds of props from MMA Junkie:
Struve has immense potential and raw skills. But even in recent fights, you see vast improvement from bout to bout. In fact, most fight fans were largely unaware he has much standup proficiency at all. Yet at UFC 107, Struve bested Buentello, one of the division’s most dangerous strikers, at his own game.
Personally I’d say he looked worse in this one, but it shouldn’t be surprising how his skills look less and less impressive the harder his competition gets. And maybe Buentello was one of the division’s most dangerous strikers back in 2006. But even that old school striking acumen was enough to box Struve up good despite Struve’s 9 inch height advantage and half foot of extra arm length.
I’m not gonna deny that Stefan Struve has great potential – the same potential anyone born with his freakish genetics would have. But he’s so far off from utilizing his physical abilities properly that it’s barely worth listing him as a prospect right now. Feel free to be excited about what he’ll turn into in the future. But let’s not pretend he’s better than he is now just because he’s young and giant and might be able to put it all together down the road. He certainly hasn’t yet.