Saturday, March 2 – 11:00 p.m. ET Saitama Super Arena – Tokyo, Japan
Mark Hunt (8-7) vs. Stefan Struve (29-5)
Heavyweight bout Line: Struve -170, Hunt +140
The “Skyscraper” Stefan Struve will take on Mark Hunt in the premier heavyweight bout for UFC on Fuel TV 8 Saturday in Tokyo.
The staggering aspect of this fight is the height differential: Struve is the tallest fighter in UFC at 7-foot-0, while Hunt is one of the shorter heavyweights at 5-foot-10. Hunt, however, has won three in a row and most recently dispatched the 6-foot-4 Cheick Kongo with a quick first-round TKO, in a fight that also took place in this same arena in Tokyo during UFC 144 a year ago. Struve has won four UFC bouts in a row, most recently TKO-ing Stipe Miocic in the second round for the Fight of the Night last September. Perhaps because of his size and submission skills, Struve is favored in this one. But with his subpar chin, he has only been able to survive in recent fights because he wasn’t going against heavy hitters. That’s not the case with Hunt, who should end this one with his fists early. Take HUNT and the money to win this bout.
The MMA Odds Breaker crew gives their fight predictions based on the opening lines for this bout:
Of Hunt’s eight career wins, five are knockouts, including two of his last three. The good news for him is that Struve—despite his incredible length—has shown he can be susceptible to top-notch strikers. Four of Struve’s five career losses have been via knockout. Hunt is an elite boxer and kick-boxer who makes up for his lack of size with a thick and powerful frame. At 5-foot-10, he weights 265 pounds, giving him at least 20 pounds against Struve. The 38-year-old nicknamed "Super Samoan" must use that low center of gravity and extreme power to end this one before the final bell.
Whereas Hunt has the potential to win this one via knockout, the 25-year-old Struve can easily do so via submission. Sixteen of his 25 career wins have come that way, and lucky for him, Hunt has struggled against elite grapplers. Six of Hunt’s seven career losses have come via submission, though it’s worth noting he hasn’t lost since 2010. If Struve can’t end this one quickly with a swift move and armbar finish, he may struggle to withstand Hunt’s strong punching all night.