UFC On Versus 6: The Face-Off

Stefan Struve

Finley and Kyte go head-to-head on Barry vs. Struve

Heavy MMA writers Duane Finley and E. Spencer Kyte are good friends, except for one 15-minute stretch each Saturday. During that time, they’re bitter rivals, competing for bragging rights in their back-and-forth analytical battle known as The Face-Off.

With each event, our two scribes select a fight, choose their fighter, and lay out how they’ll win and why. For UFC on Versus 6, they’ve selected the heavyweight contest between Pat Barry and Stefan Struve, and they’re ready to make their cases.

The Case for Stefan Struve (Kyte: 1-3, three fight losing streak)

This is a make-or-break fight for both fighters in my opinion, and while I can see Barry catching Struve with a big right hand and causing him to collapse into himself like Travis Browne did at UFC 130, there are far more ways for Struve to win this fight in my opinion.

Of course, the caveat is that he has to want to use those advantages in the first place.

I loved basketball when I was a kid. I still do, as much as a five-foot-nothing, plodding would-be point guard with no speed and even less of a vertical can love basketball. I always hated those kids who were far taller than me and had no interest in basketball. I would have killed to have their height, and there they go squandering it.

Sound like anyone you know in this fight?

It frustrates me to no end seeing Struve waste his size advantage. Despite the fact that he’s given me no reason to believe this, part of the reason I’m backing him here is that I think he’ll actually use it for once this time around.

Even if Struve doesn’t live behind a lengthy jab and rangy kicks, I still think his reach advantage plays a factor here. Barry has to press in to have any hope, and that will give Struve the opportunity to snipe at Barry’s chin on the entry. He can, in theory, connect without Barry even being in range to do much damage; that’s a huge plus if he wants it.

The other place Struve’s length might play a factor is on the ground. He has vastly superior ground skills than Barry, and his gangly limbs could be very effective in controlling the stalky kickboxer on the canvas. While he’s never really be one to look for takedowns, this should be one of those times for Struve.

Here’s the kicker: even if Struve stays true to form and ignores the advantages he possesses, he can still just fling bombs and knock Barry out.

I don’t mean that in an “it’s just that easy” sense; it’s just that even without playing to his strength, he still has the ability to connect and collect the win.

He should try to win this fight on the ground. If he doesn’t, I still think he connects and stops Barry.

The Case for Barry (Finley: 3-1, 3 fight win streak)

Holding this title has been a great honor, one of which I’m none too proud to brag about.

It’s been a pleasure putting a beating on the man, myth and Canadian folklore legend that is ESK, and unfortunately for him, the streak shall continue.

Pat Barry is known for his “Hype or Die” moniker, and that is exactly what this fight is for him.

Barry’s previous faults inside the Octagon were forgiven by inexperience, and the fact he has one of the best personalities in the sport helped to patch things up along the way.

Even after his potential “Knockout of the Year” loss to Cheick Kongo in Pittsburgh, Barry’s sense of humor managed to take the sting off of what was undoubtedly a crushing defeat. But rather than focus on how that fight ended, I see the things Barry was able to do against Kongo as a sign of things to come.

Struve is obviously the bigger fighter, but you would be hard pressed to find a fight where Barry wasn’t the smaller combatant. Plain and simple—he’s used to being at a disadvantage when it comes to height and reach. With that being said, “HD” knows he has the ability to close distance and can do so in devastating fashion. His leg kicks are ferocious, and he has power in both hands which will ultimately be Struve’s undoing in this fight.

On paper, Struve has far more ways to end this dance than Barry does; he has proven to have a solid submission game, and his long limbs make for a mean triangle.

Again, this is another disadvantage that Barry has grown used to. He is a head strong and bright mixed martial artist, so he is well aware of what he is up against.

As I said off the top, it’s “Hype of Die” time for Barry. A loss to Struve, as talented and promising as he is, throws Barry down to the bottom of the heap in an increasingly improving heavyweight division.

In the past, Barry said that he was always afraid of getting knocked out, but now that he has experienced it, he can move past that fear.

I see Barry attacking with the same killer instinct he he showed against Kongo. Unfortunately for Struve, I also see flashes of Roy Nelson and Travis Browne in the Dutchman’s future. Barry wins this fight by knockout.

That’s how I see it and that’s how it’s going to go.