A heavyweight battle between top ten heavyweight Stefan Struve and heavy-handed striker Mark Hunt was set as the co-main event for Saturday’s UFC on FUEL TV 8 event from the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. With a night full of decisions, fans were hoping that the big guys could steal the show and put together a highlight reel finish to take the fight card off of life support.
Despite being more than a foot shorter than Struve, Hunt was not afraid to come out with bad intentions in the bout that Twitter dubbed “Power vs. Tower.”
The reach advantage for Struve was evident early, but Hunt was able to get inside and land a few hard shots early in round one. Struve wanted none of the Samoan’s power and was using his long limbs to keep the distance. Once the two fighters reengaged, Struve latched on to Hunt and showed his confidence in his ground game by pulling guard and immediately searching for a submission.
Hunt was attempting to stay out of danger before Struve was able to use the butterfly guard to sweep Hunt and land in the top position.
Struve continued to work for submissions but Hunt eventually gave up mount and was being punished with ground and pound before giving up his back and sweeping the 7-footer. Hunt continued to flirt with danger inside of Struve’s guard and showed no urgency to get the fight back to his feet. It was a dangerous strategy, but one that worked out when Hunt finished round one in side control.
To start the second-round, Hunt once again came out bringing the power and landed a few clean blows to Struve’s chin. Hunt was comfortable avoiding the long jab of Struve and began picking apart Struve with his combinations. It was going well for Hunt on the feet, but he decided to land a beautiful throw and tossed Struve to the canvas. Instead of immediately going back to his feet, Hunt inexplicably continued to hang out in Struve’s guard.
The strategy backfired when Struve was able to find his way to mount and began firing off a flurry of ground-and-pound strikes. Hunt was able to escape the position and ended the round back in Struve’s guard.
Both fighters were exhausted heading into the final frame and the pace slowed considerably for the final five minutes.
Despite the gassing, Hunt continued to throw power shots while Struve was showing off an impressive chin as he ate the blows from the Samoan. Hunt eventually connected on a shot that rocked Struve before a combination sent him crumbling to the mat. Struve showed guts by standing in the pocket with Hunt, but you can only so many left hooks from a guy with Hunt’s power.
Just how devastating was Hunt’s final blow?
Dean was telling them to fight on, and Struve told him no more. That punch apparently broke his jaw.
— John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) March 3, 2013
It was a big win for Hunt in his return to Japan.