UFC 193 Main Card Analysis – Struve v Rosholt

In the leadup to UFC 193 I will analyse the main card matchups, before weighing in with some good old fashioned prognostication.

To do this I will take a look at the career records and fight stats of each fighter to identify some of their individual strengths and weaknesses. This will help to pick the approach they will bring to the Octagon and should provide some insight into the result. We hope!

First off – Stefan Struve (14) v Jared Rosholt

Their Careers!

Stefan Struve is part of a long pedigree of fantastic Dutch fighters, from Peter Aerts and Ernesto Hoost to modern day legends Gegard Mousasi, Bas Rutten, Tyrone Spong and Badr Hari – the Netherlands seems to be a conveyor belt of A-Class fighting talent.

Struve himself has fallen tantalisingly close to the very pinnacle of his chosen sport. He seems to build momentum against the lesser lights before failing against other fighters also on the brink of an appearance in the top 10.

In his 15 UFC fights, Struve has never fought anyone currently in the Sherdog top 10. In the thin UFC Heavyweight division this is not a good sign, and with recent (fight cancelling) problems with both his heart and anxiety, the question must be asked about his longevity.

In spite of these issues, Struve is a marketable item for the UFC. Ten years after his debut as a 17 year old, he has amassed 33 professional fights (Fightmetric says 37, but as I can see no evidence of those fights there I am going with the tried and true Sherdog). There is also a niggling optimism that one day he will learn to use his impressive size and reach effectively – he has the longest reach measurement in the UFC at a scary 213cm. This helps to explain why a fight between two middling heavyweights made its way onto the Pay Per View segment of the show.

Jared Rosholt is the younger brother of ex UFC fighter Jake. Both brothers have a strong wrestling base with Jared achieving ‘All-American’ status (finishing in the top eight of the national championship) three times, including runner up twice.

Even being two years older than Struve at 29, Rosholt has only been fighting for four years. As such he is still searching for the signature win that will propel him into matchups with the sports elite. This fight will certainly be his toughest to date.

Let’s compare basic career stats –

Stefan Struve Jared Rosholt
Overall
Wins 26 13
Losses 7 2
Major Fights
Wins 12 5
Losses 6 1

As mentioned, Struve has a clear advantage in both overall fight experience, but also crucially, in major fights. Countering that, Rosholt has a better win percentage, particularly in major fights. I have defined major fights as those that either take place in a major MMA promotion** or are against significant opposition at any stage of their careers.

While both of these resumes appear pretty solid at first glance, let’s take a look at the records of their opponents to get some context. It is all well and good to have a stellar win record, it is meaningless if it is padded out with fighters that have never won.

Stefan Struve Jared Rosholt
Overall
Wins 291 162
Losses 121 44
Draws 4 2
No Contest 3 2
Major Fights
Wins 124 19
Losses 65 13
Draws 3 1
No Contest 2 0

The overall figures reinforce the narrative of the previous table – on fight night Rosholt’s opponents had almost double the win percentage of Struve’s. The story starts becoming clearer when we isolate the results of major fights. Struve’s opponents had a massive major fight experience advantage over Rosholt’s with a significantly greater level of success.

To further understand the data, I took a look at the records in major fights of the opponents that our fighters had beaten, and compared that to the records of those that had beaten them –

Stefan Struve Jared Rosholt
 Wins
Wins 81 8
Losses 42 9
Draws 2 0
No Contest 1 0
 Losses
Wins 43 11
Losses 23 4
Draws 1 1
No Contest 1 0

As the table demonstrates, all of Rosholt’s victories have come against fighters who combined do not have a winning record in major fights, whereas Struve’s opponents have won almost twice what they lose against quality opposition. One key note about the last table, Struve’s last win came against a Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira at the very end of a glorious (100% major fight!) career. It was a fight that prompted Dana White to beg for his retirement, a wish then subsequently granted. With his figures removed Struve’s win figures are much closer to parity.

Their fights!

With the quality of their respective careers understood, let’s take a look at their fight stats. First I will look at the modes by which each fighter met the end of their fights, and then take a look at various aspects of their in cage performances.

A lot can be identified about a fighter just by looking at the method of their career victories and defeats –

Stefan Struve Jared Rosholt
Win
KO/TKO 7 4
Submission 16 3
Decision 2 6
Disqualification 1
Loss
KO/TKO 6 2
Submission 1

Struve has a very high proportion of submission victories at 62%, especially in the lead fisted heavyweight division. A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt under Remco Pardoel, he has proven himself to be a very dangerous grappler, only having been submitted once (by future Bellator champion Christian M’Pumbu) in his career. Other than this singular defeat, all of his losses have come by way of knockout.

Jared’s main victory method is by decision – 46%. This, combined with his wrestling pedigree, suggests that he likes to take his opponents down and control them on the mat. His two career losses have both been by way of knockout.

The UFC has a deal with Fightmetric to produce official stats. Unfortunately I cannot find non UFC stats, so I have gone with what was provided on Fightmetric.com for the most recent and statistically significant segments of their careers.

As all fights start with both fighters on their feet, I will start this part of the analysis with striking before looking at their grappling stats.

Stefan Struve Jared Rosholt
Attack
Significant Strikes 358 170
Total Strikes 526 471
% Significant 68% 36%
Strikes Landed per min 3.59 2.22
% Standing Strikes 84% 28%
% Striking Accuracy 50% 52%
Defence
Significant Strikes 395 87
Total Strikes 891 249
% Significant 44% 61%
% Defended 48% 38%

The key story that jumps out at me from this table is the sheer number of strikes Struve both dishes out and receives compared to Rosholt, specifically in the significant strike category.

Struve is one of the highest performing UFC heavyweights in terms of offensive output. His 358 significant strikes put him 6th in the list of active fighters*, while his accuracy percentage is good enough for 7th. This is not to mention the sheer output of significant strikes per minute of 3.59 which puts him in 10th.

Rosholt’s only entry into any of the offensive Fightmetric top 10 lists is courtesy of the weight of total strikes – 471 earning him 9th , one spot below Struve.

While Rosholt takes a clear second fiddle offensively, his defence is some of the finest in the division. In fact, of all active heavyweights in the UFC he has the lowest number of significant strikes absorbed per minute at 1.14, where Struve doesn’t have an entry in the top ten. His significant strike defence percentage of 61% would be enough for 4th, if his opponents had managed the minimum number of attempted strikes of 350 (Rosholt’s figure is 225).

The percentage of standing strikes also paints a picture of where these fighters like to fight. Struve throws 84% of his strikes on his feet, while Rosholt only strikes there 28% of the time. Even though his career record indicates a very high level of competence with his grappling game, Struve prefers to stand and quite literally trade punches. Rosholt uses his grappling credentials to get inside striking range and take the battle into his wheel house – the ground.

Stefan Struve Jared Rosholt
Takedowns landed 3 9
% Takedown accuracy 75% 41%
Takedowns suffered 8 3
% Takedown defence 68% 70%
Guard passes 11 15
Sweeps 5 0
% Ground Strikes 10.10% 42%
Submission attempts 19 1
Sub attempts avg/15min 2.9 0.2

This table highlights both fighters strong ground game, and helps to illustrate the different approaches they bring to the Octagon. In his 15 UFC fights, Struve has attempted a takedown 4 times. This, along with the striking table above definitely indicates a man who prefers to fight on his feet – no matter how much punishment he takes all the way up there. Rosholt on the other hand places an emphasis on tight standing defence, while trying all the while to take the fight down. His 9 takedowns are enough for equal 7th in the UFC and his takedown accuracy places him 6th (amongst fighters with at least 20 attempts).

Another point of clear difference between the two men is what they do once the fight does go to ground. For the 11 times in his UFC career that he has been on the ground, Struve has thrown 36 punches and attempted 19 submissions (2nd highest total of active heavyweights!). In terms of submission attempts per 15 minutes (a weird measurement by Fightmetric, but whatever) his 2.9 is the highest of any UFC heavyweight ever.

In terms of positional awareness, good grapplers generally prefer to be on top. It means they can control and wear down an opponent with their weight. This proficiency can be measured in terms of takedowns landed (which will be controlled to put the thrower on top, usually) and takedown defence. It can also be measured in terms of guard passes and sweeps.

A fighter on the bottom has a couple of tools at his disposal to both defend themselves from both strikes and submission attempts. These are referred to as guards. A guard pass is recorded when a fighter manages to bypass a guard to put themselves in a better position on top. A sweep is recorded with a fighter on the bottom manages to reverse and gain top position.

Even though (I know I keep mentioning it) Struve has only been to the ground 11 times, he has 11 guard passes and 5 sweeps. In contrast, Rosholt has been to the ground 12 times in five fights and while he has managed to utilise his significant wrestling experience to pass guard 15 times, he has never been able to reverse the position when taken down.

While Struve prefers to stand and trade punches he is a proven, gifted grappler. Rosholt displays all of the tendencies of a highly credentialed wrestler – good takedown accuracy and defence, but he has almost no submission attempts and struggles off his back.

In summation!

It is clear – no matter where you are, Stefan Struve is trying very very hard to knock you out or submit you, whatever the cost to his person. Stefan Struve is a scary scary man. His all action style means that even though he will get knocked out regularly against better strikers, the fans will always pay to watch. Personally I would prefer to see him shore up his defence, and use his offensive output to set up takedowns. Imagine what he could do if he got serious about all aspects of striking and decided to not get hit in the face so much!

Jared Rosholt is out of his depth in this one. He is a decent wrestler who has never faced anyone the likes of Struve. On his feet he lacks the offensive tools to be a threat, and on the ground he faces a potentially greater danger.

In understanding the UFC’s reason to book this match, Struve has been up and down the periphery of his division for a long time. He now has a signature win over a fighter who is way past his prime and still needs a few wins over up and comers like Rosholt to really build that momentum necessary to make it to the top. On the flip side, if Rosholt can pull off the upset and beat Struve then he suddenly gets all of his stock, without the history of near misses and unrealized potential.

Finally, I expect that Struve will batter Rosholt standing, and Rosholt will be unable to take him down.

Verdict – Stefan Struve by KO Round 1

The analysis of the second main card fight, Uriah Hall v Robert Whittaker, is out now! Click here to read!

References!

UFC 193 Event Page

Official Stefan Struve UFC Profile

Official Jared Rosholt UFC Profile

Stefan Struve fight record – Sherdog

Jared Rosholt fight record – Sherdog

Fightmetric bout matchup – Struve v Rosholt

Fightmetric fighter profile – Stefan Struve

Fightmetric fighter profile – Jared Rosholt

Fightmetric Heavyweight top 10s

*All UFC rankings are for active fighters with a minimum of 5 fights, unless specifically mentioned.

**This one should be fun, major MMA promotions are defined as being one of the following –

Jungle Fight
World Extreme Fighting
M1
Cage Rage
UFC
Deep
Pancrase
Shooto Japan
Bodog
IFC
Elite XC/Pro Elite
Bellator
WEC
Strikeforce
Pride

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Published by

James

Easing into my mid 30's, writing just crept up on me. I had to put something out there - no matter what. So here we are! I live in Canberra, Australia and work in statistical IT systems development and support and am a proud father of two

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