An interview with Stefan Struve talking about his lengthy heart issues and miraculous recovery aired on Wednesday, and then a few hours later the UFC announced his return bout.
Struve will face Matt Mitrione at UFC 175 on July 5 in Las Vegas. UFC officials revealed the bout late Wednesday evening.
Just a few hours earlier, Struve was talking about the leaking aortic valve and enlarged heart that nearly derailed his career. In fact, doctor’s had initially said that the lanky Dutch fighter would never fight again.
Now, a little over a year since Mark Hunt derailed his four-fight winning streak and heart troubles nearly derailed his career, Struve has gotten final medical clearance and has his return bout scheduled.
Aside from rebounding from his health problems, Struve (25-6) will be looking to initiate a new winning streak. Prior to losing to Hunt, he had defeated Pat Barry, Dave Herman, Lavar Johnson, and Stipe Miocic in succession.
Struve was a stone’s throw away from a title shot when Hunt landed a shot that broke his jaw and ended the streak. He recovered quickly from the busted up jaw, but it’s taken this long, and a lot of luck, for him to overcome the heart problems.
Mitrione (7-3) doesn’t look to make it an easy road back. After losing three out of four bouts, Mitrione bounced back in a big way at the TUF China Finale by knocking out Shawn Jordan with just one tick left on the clock in the first round. Having only every fought in the Octagon, Mitrione was precariously close to having to find a new home and won’t want Struve stealing away his job security.
UFC 175 is shaping up to be the promotion’s most star-studded event of the year. There are two title fights at the top of the bill with Chris Weidman putting his middleweight strap on the line against Lyoto Machida and Ronda Rousey defending her bantamweight belt against Alexis Davis. A long anticipated grudge match between TUF Brazil 3 head coaches Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen is also featured on the July 5 card at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Now, against all odds, Struve joins the card to face Mitrione.
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