STRUVE vs. NOGUEIRA
After a harrowing few years that included a serious health scare and back-to-back knockout losses to Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem, Stefan Struve got back in the win column for the first time since 2012, defeating one of his fighting idols, former UFC and PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira.
“I had a couple rough years,” Struve said. “It’s good to be back.”
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Struve, now 30-7; the 39-year-old Nogueira, who has lost three straight, falls to 34-10-1 with 1 NC.
Nogueira closed the distance fast on the 6-11 ½ Struve, landing a left hook before clinching with his foe against the fence. As the two broke with a little over three minutes left, Struve caught Nogueira with a right hand, staggering him before “Minotauro” locked up again. With a little over two minutes left, Nogueira got a brief takedown, but Struve popped right back up and he appeared to rock the veteran with nearly every shot he landed.
Struve’s leg kicks worked well for him in the second, as they did in the first, prompting Nogueira to unleash some punches upstairs in order to get close and lock up. Nogueira subsequently got a takedown and nearly caught his foe in a rear naked choke, but Struve eluded trouble and got back to his feet. Struve got stronger as the round progressed, scoring well with a variety of strikes both at range and in close, cutting Nogueira over the right eye.
Nogueira went all in for a takedown to start round three, and he got it, but Struve got up effortlessly and went back to work with kicks to the body and legs. Nogueira plodded after his foe, but he just couldn’t get his offense together, and defensively, only his unyielding heart kept him upright, especially after taking a flush kick to the head with a little over two minutes left.