The winners circle: What a win means for the UFC on FUEL TV 5 headliners


UFC on FUEL TV 5: Struve vs. Miocic goes down this Saturday from the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. The event is headlined by a heavyweight fight between Stefan Struve and Stripe Miocic and also features an undercard full of interesting match ups including including a total of 10 British fighters set to compete in their home country.

With the top two bouts of Struve vs. Miocic and Dan Hardy vs. Amir Sadollah coming at significant points in each man’s career, we break down what a win on Sept. 29 means for the four men carrying the UFC on FUEL TV 5 fight card.

Stefan Struve
Of the two men competing in the UFC on FUEL TV 5 main event, Stefan Struve really, really needs to win if he has any hopes of being a title contender within the next two years. Not to say Stipe Miocic doesn’t need to win the fight as well, but Struve just needs it more for a number of reasons.

Even though he is just 24-years old, Struve is already established as a more than competent heavyweight. The Dutchman beats the fighters he is supposed to beat and struggles against the upper echelon of the heavyweight division, as evident by his knockout losses to Junior dos Santos, Roy Nelson and Travis Browne. Struve’s list of losses is nothing to be ashamed; however at this point in his career he can’t afford another tick in the loss column, especially to an opponent like Miocic, who for the most part is an unknown to casual fans.

There have been two instances, prior to the losses to Nelson and Browne, where Struve was climbing the ranks and looked as if he was ready to make a serious run before being stopped in devastating fashion. With three straight wins under his belt, Struve cannot afford to let history repeat. He needs the win over Miocic to prove worthy of fighting top-10 heavyweights from hereon out. For Struve, a win on Saturday means he is ready to not just fight the elite, but beat them as well.

Stipe Miocic
Undefeated Stipe Miocic is in a good position going into the bout with Stefan Struve. Miocic isn’t all that well known by the UFC audience despite compiling a 3-0 record inside the octagon to this point.

Beating a fighter like Struve means a lot regardless of the circumstances. To overcome the challenges of fighting the tallest and lankiest fighter in the UFC with the skills of the Dutch fighter is no walk in the park by any means. Miocic’s past UFC wins over Joey Beltran, Philip De Fries and Shane Del Rosario were impressive, but none of those fighter’s accomplishments mean anything when compared to Struve, who has more UFC wins than all of Miocic’s prior opponents combined. If Miocic wins on Saturday he will prove he is a legitimate presence in the heavyweight division and intends on cleaning house.

There is a lot of hype surrounding Miocic and to make a comparison, the hype surrounding him reminds one a lot of what people were saying about Cain Velasquez earlier in his career. If that is true and Miocic wins at UFC on FUEL TV 5, it could mean the emergence of a new star and potential future champion in the UFC biggest weight class.

Dan Hardy
Few have experienced a career with as many ups and downs as British welterweight Dan Hardy. Four straight wins to open up his UFC career catapulted Hardy into a title fight with Georges St-Pierre. In short span Hardy went form a debuting fighter to a championship contender, then it all crashed down. Hardy was unsuccessful in his effort to dethrone St-Pierre at UFC 111 and the loss was the beginning of a four-fight losing streak for the 30-year-old. With pressure mounting and his job on the line, Hardy finally got back to his winning ways at UFC 146 in May when he knocked out Duane Ludwig in the first round. After that win, Hardy was booked to face Amir Sadollah in the co-main event of the UFC’s first trip to Hardy’s hometown of Nottingham, England.

An argument can be made that even though Hardy won his last fight, he is still sitting on the chopping block and one horrendous performance could get him booted from the UFC. However, a win for Hardy would be a second consecutive victory for the first time since 2009 and means “The Outlaw” can firmly step off the chopping block and for the first time in years and have absolutely no worries about job security for at least two or three more fights.

There is no doubt Hardy knows the importance of this fight and is hungry to win for not only job security, but for the fans cheering him on in his hometown.

Amir Sadollah
Since winning season seven of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, Amir Sadollah’s career can only be summed up with a shrug of the shoulders. To put it in words, it’s been pretty “meh”. Sadollah is 6-3 overall and has fought all of his professional fights in the UFC, which is no easy task. The 32-year-old has no marquee wins and has never won more than two fights in a row. This may come off as bashing the career of the Virginia native, but it’s not. He simply has not done anything special with his career since winning the reality show in July 2008.

Sadollah’s biggest wins at this point in his career are C.B. Dollaway, Phil Baroni and DaMarques Johnson. Not exactly a murderers row, but respectable journeyman nonetheless. That brings Sadollah to his fight on Saturday against Dan Hardy. Hardy is without a doubt the biggest name Sadollah has faced in his career and while Hardy may not be in the prime of his career, a win over him would do wonders for Sadollah’s career. If Sadollah hopes to make any sort of push towards contention or even just a position to get big fights, he absolutely needs to win at UFC on FUEL TV 5. This fight is critical for Sadollah’s career. Does he want to win and fight top-15, top-20 welterweights? Or is he content with fighting the Brad Blackburn and Jorge Lopez’s of the world? A win on Saturday will decide which route Sadollah takes.

Follow @MikeBohnMMA on Twitter and keep up with the latest news by following @MMASucka on Twitter and on Facebook

Share this article

Jeremy Brand started up this lovechild called back in 2009. It began as a hobby project and has turned into much more. In his spare time, you can find Jeremy on the mats, as he is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.