On May 26th, UFC 146′s opening heavyweight bout to kick of the main card features two key heavyweights looking to cement their position in the top ten rankings. 6 feet 11 inch Dutch heavyweight Stefan Struve was originally slated to face Mark Hunt who had to pull out due to injury will now be facing Lavar Johnson. Struve is coming into this fight with a victory over Dave Herman back in Febuary in which he won by second round tko on the UFC’s first Fuel TV card. This bout against Johnson will be his 11th fight in the UFC. Struve has a record of 23-5 (7-3 UFC). Struve’s opponent “Big” Lavar Johnson is making a quick return back to the Octagon, just three weeks after his last fight in which he defeated Pat Barry. Johnson is stepping in as a replacement for Hunt making this his third UFC fight in four months. Johnson comes into this fight with a record of 17-5 (2-0 UFC). Johnson has previously competed under the other owned ZUFFA Banner Strikeforce.
Struve is not afraid to engage in battles of striking or engage in kickboxing battles considering one of his advantages in this fight would be his reach advantage as well. Even though Struve isn’t a well known ground person, he says that he is confident he can manage on the ground if he has to. Struve has pulled off submissions in his career in the past, but it can be very likely he will have no problem standing with Johnson like he has with past opponents. Johnson has high confidence after his victory on May 5. Johnson is an extremely dangerous standup fighter, and it shows on his record with fifteen of his seventeen victories coming by way of knockout. His main strength would be his striking in this match up.
The keys to victory for both fighters in this heavyweight bout would come down to trying to stay on their game plans. Struve was preparing for a power puncher in Mark Hunt anyway for UFC 146 so his way of being successfull would be staying busy using his reach advantage, and staying out of range of Johnson’s bombs, and he must watch so he doesn’t get pressed up on the cage fence which is where Johnson’s past victims have fallen prey to Johnson’s onslaughts. Struve may also wanna consider using his kickboxing striking to possibly throw at Johnson’s legs to wear him down. Johnson’s keys to victory would pretty much to work inside Struve’s reach, and not be discouraged by that factor. Many feel Lavar Johnson’s best bet would be to stay off his back considering Struve can utilize his ground game if he can. If Johnson can work around Stefan Struve’s reach, and stay out of range of his kicks This bout makes for a very interesting match up to make either of their futures in this sport a brighter one.
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