Every time UFC puts on an event, speculation, questions, and theories arise about which fighters will perform, or under perform. Will new contenders emerge? Will established ones fall? Where will the winners go? Which losers will still have a job on Monday? Who is healthy? Who is fighting injured? Anytime the UFC athletes are set to enter the octagon, questions follow.
That being said, here are four burning questions going into UFC on FUEL TV 5: Struve vs. Miocic.
4. How Will Stipe Miocic Handle A Step Up In Competition?
Stipe Miocic may be 3-0 in the UFC, but the American hasn’t exactly fought the cream of the crop in the UFC heavyweight division. Joey Beltran and Shane Del Rosario, two fighters Miocic holds UFC wins over, are not exactly the most consistent competitors, which makes you question the quality of opposition the Ohio native has been facing.
Miocic, 9-0, brings his undefeated professional MMA record back to the octagon to face Stefan Struve in a five-round main event at UFC on FUEL TV 5.The 30-year-old goes from fighting middle-of-the-pack heavyweights to Struve, a man that has fought in the UFC 11 times against top-notch oppositions. Facing Struve is a stern leap in competition for Miocic, but given the amount of hype surrounding him, is one he appears to be more than ready for.
Appearing ready is one thing, though. Performing on the fight night is an entirely different animal. Many questions about Miocic will be answered on Saturday.
3. Can Paul Sass Score Another Triangle Choke Submission?
24-year-old British fighter Paul Sass is good at submitting opponents, especially with the triangle choke. How good is Sass at the triangle choke? Well, of his 13 professional wins, nine of them were earned using the submission. Moreover, his nickname, the “Sassangle” was given to him for his unmatched ability to set up the same finishing move from all angles.
To this point in his career, the undefeated fighter has breezed through the competition with relative ease, going 3-0 in the UFC with wins over Mark Holst, Michael Johnson and most impressively, Jacob Volkmann. Next up for the Liverpool native is one of the toughest fighters in the world at 155-pounds, 12-fight UFC veteran Matt Wiman. Wiman is a well-rounded fighter who is capable of fighting in every position. Against Sass, Wiman needs to avoid going to the ground at all costs. Due to his superb ability to get the fight to the ground by taking opponents down or pulling guard, Sass’ striking abilities have yet to be truly tested. There is a good chance that will change against the very durable Wiman, though.
The two major questions for Sass vs. Wiman are will Sass be able to submit Wiman with the triangle? And if not, what happens next? The strategy of both men should be pretty obvious to spectators and the fight will really come down to who can best work their magic. With that said, a tenth career win by triangle choke would be pretty remarkable for Sass and it is something people are certainly focusing on going into the fight.
2. Is It Stefan Struve’s Time To Cross Over From Prospect To Contender?
Since first entering the UFC in February of 2009, Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve has been pegged as a future title contender in the UFC heavyweight division. Based on physical attributes alone, Struve is handful for anyone, standing 6’11 and weighing over 265-pounds. With rapidly developing striking skills, high level submissions and grappling as well as a boatload of experience, Struve is slowly creeping towards the top of the division and jockeying for position to get big fights. T
At just 24 years of age, Struve already has 11 UFC fights under his belt, winning five of his last six fights by knockout or submission. After suffering brutal knockout defeats in the UFC to Junior dos Santos, Roy Nelson and Travis Browne, Struve’s chin will always be a question mark, but if he can continue to make improvements to his defense, he has a chance of defeating any man in the division.
In his next bout, Struve fights in his first UFC main event when he takes on Stipe Miocic in the headliner of UFC on FUEL TV 5 from Nottingham, England. Miocic is a dangerous opponent for Struve, however, he is an opponent “Skyscraper” should defeat if he ever plans on being a title contender. Saturday’s fight will be very telling of Struve’s development and future as a potential contender.
1. Will Dan Hardy Continue His Career Resurgence?
After suffering a career worst four-fight winning streak from 2010-2011, Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy finally got back on track at UFC 146 last May when he knocked Duane Ludwig out in the first round with brutal punches and elbows.
Prior to the fight with Ludwig, Hardy was very public about the trials and tribulations he faced from challenging George St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight championship in early 2010 to losing four bouts in a row. Any fighter on the type of skid Hardy faced would have troubles with their confidence, and a huge part of being a successful MMA fighter is having belief in your abilities. The career of the 30-year-old was derailed for nearly two years, but at UFC 146 it took him less than four minutes to get it all back in one fight. The next step in Hardy’s continuing effort to try and reinvent himself and build his career back to where it once was before is at UFC on FUEL TV 5 this Saturday night when the British fighter takes on “The Ultimate Fighter” season 7 winner, Amir Sadollah.
The fight takes place in Hardy’s hometown of Nottingham, England, which adds an unforeseen amount of pressure on the shoulders of a fighter who has gone 1-4 in his past five bouts and, even though he won his last fight, still has his back against the wall.
There are a lot of variables for Hardy coming into his fight against Sadollah and it will be very interesting to see if he comes out confident in his skills like he did in his last bout or if he lets his opponent take control of the fight and suffers yet another defeat. The last time Hardy won back-to-back fights was in 2009 and there is no doubt “The Outlaw” badly wishes to stay in the win column. The question is, will he be able to?