by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
The 9 inches in height Stefan Struve enjoyed over Paul Buentello turned the UFC 107 judges in his favor.
Struve, 21, had little trouble doing his bidding on the canvas, putting “The Headhunter” in imminent danger of being choked out in the first round.
Buentello’s experience kept him from giving in and opened a window to exploit the giant’s energy dump.
Struve was running low on gas by the second round and gave little thought to leaping in with his long legs looking for a flying knee KO.
Buentello, 35, was waiting. Before Struve could return to earth, he shot the Danish hightower out of the air like skeet, nearly earning the knockout.
After one such shot, Struve reluctantly returned to his feet, then did it again. Again, Buentello caught him.
The youngster never gave up, and chased Buentello to the cage, where they traded punches until a Buentello punch finally backed him up. He smiled widely.
One of Buentello’s punches had embedded a tooth in Struve’s mouthguard, which referee Dan Mirgliotta had removed before the final frame. Struve barely blinked.
In the final round, Struve finally began to assert his will with his length, punishing Buentello’s lead leg with kicks. Buentello, behind in the scorecards and looking for his right hand, didn’t have the spring in his step to get the same power behind his earlier punches.
The two were gassed through much of the third round.
Struve was not happy with his performance, despite coming out ahead on scorecards with two scores of 29-28.
“I don’t feel like winner right now. It was more of a draw,” he said.
One judge agreed with him, giving a 28-28 tally.
It was Struve’s third straight victory in the Octagon since his UFC 95 debut.