Paul Buentello (27-10) vs. Stefan Struve (18-3): a classic striker versus grappler match up where Netherlands tall and thin Struve, who is a replacement for injured Duffee, clashes with Buentello, who will try a second run at the UFC HW division.
Skyscraper Struve is a young up-n-comer, who is currently 2-1 in the UFC. After getting destroyed in few seconds by Dos Santos in his debut, Struve has managed get two wins in a row. First the young Dutchman RNC’ed Denis Stojnic in a fight that was probably the bloodiest UFC fight ever and then in his latest fight Struve applied a triangle choke on Chase Gormley. Dutch fighters are usually primarily strikers, but submission-savvy Struve is an exception. While his striking definitely needs some work, he has a dangerous guard game and uses his long limbs well on the ground.
Fighting MMA since 1997 Buentello is one of the most experienced heavyweights in the game. At the moment Buentello has a solid gatekeeper status in the MMA HW division and is 8-2 in his last ten fights. The headhunter relies on one thing: striking. He never shoots for a takedown and very rarely goes for a submission. All he wants to do is stand and bang. There is or at least was some problems with Buentello’s fight camp for this fight. When AKA-trained Buentello changed his manager to a new one, his old manager and the boss of AKA banned him from the gym.
Prediction: Struve needs to get this one on the floor and fast or this fight will be a repetition of the Dos Santos fight. Struve doesn’t have very good wrestling, but he’ll probably try to clinch right away and pull guard. Experienced Buentello’s takedown defense isn't anything special either, but he knows what’s coming and is comfortable enough on the ground not to make any hasty moves while trying get back to the feet. I hope that Struve snatches a submission victory, but I got a feeling that Buentello’s experience and striking skills will prove to be too much for the young European. Buentello by KO R1.