A familiar face is returning to the Octagon. Towering heavyweight Stefan Struve will make his first UFC appearance since March of 2013 when he tangled with Matt Mitrione at UFC 175 in Las Vegas. The 7-foot Struve had been on the sidelines for precautionary reasons after the discovery of a rare heart condition. “Skyscraper” was eventually medically cleared after following doctors’ treatment and is now ready to go on July 5.
The 26-year-old Struve is a veteran of 13 Octagon appearances compiling a 9-4 record. He owns notable victories over Stipe Miocic, Lavar Johnson and Pat Barry. Struve’s last fight was a third round knockout loss in Japan against the hard-hitting Mark Hunt. He suffered a broken jaw in that contest.
Struve has a tremendous track record for finishing fights with 23 of his 25 career wins having come by knockout or submission. He has strong grappling skills and a dangerous ground game with 16 submission victories. Struve is rarely involved in a dull contest and has accumulated five post-fight bonus checks. His return is a definite boost to the heavyweight division, and fans are no doubt thrilled that the Dutch fighter is able to resume his career after the major health scare.
Mitrione is coming off a Performance of the Night effort at the TUF China finale in Macau against Shawn Jordan. “Meathead” finished Jordan late in the first round after a devastating flurry of accurate punches. It was his sixth knockout victory in seven career wins. It was a much-needed win for Mitrione after being submitted by Brendan Schaub at UFC 165.
This is a solid addition to an already stacked card that will be part of the UFC’s International Fight Week. Both Struve and Mitrione have shown an ability to finish fights, and it would seem a good bet that the judges’ scorecards won’t be needed for this one.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports