Fighters To Keep an Eye on in 2010: Heavyweights
Mixed Martial Arts? heavyweight division is, perhaps, the most polarizing division in the entire sport; due in large part to Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar.
In Fedor you have a stoic and unassuming champion, considered by many to be the greatest our young and emerging sport has yet to see. Quite, humble, and reserved, Fedor is an excellent ambassador for MMA, but because of his lack of charisma Fedor has failed to connect with the casual fan base.
The thing makes Fedor such a polarizing figure is his record, and depending on whom you ask, you could receive two entirely different responses.
Either Fedor is an unstoppable and undefeated force who lays to waste all challengers placed before him, or he is an overrated myth who has feasted on second class competition.
Then there is the brash and cocky UFC champion Brock Lesnar. Unlike Fedor, Lesnar is an outspoken, larger than life figure whose personality can do nothing but draw in attention.
Funny enough, Lesnar?s record, like Fedor, plays a key role in his polarizing effect.
Lesnar has either been feed competition that was simply overmatched by his physical gifts, or, outside of his MMA debut, Lesnar had done nothing but dominate top competition.
For both their true place in the sport is somewhere in the middle, but it is a topic that fans will continue to debate with an intense fire.
What heavyweights can we expect big things from this year and will they be able to divide fan base they way Fedor and Lesnar have?
Standing at 6?11?, Struve is the tallest competitor currently fighting under the UFC banner, and his height alone is enough to make him a handful for anyone.
While Struve?s UFC debut ended with him being violently overwhelmed by the hard hitting Junior Dos Santos, the youngster from Holland has managed to rebound nicely. By reeling off three straight wins to finish off 2009, including a hard fought Majority Decision win over the always tough Paul Buentello, Struve is ready for bigger and better things in 2010.
Even though Struve has already competed in 22 professional fights, he is still a very raw talent and at only 21 Struve has plenty of time to refine his skills and make his presence felt within the division.
It appears that Struve?s next test will come in the form of TUF 10 winner, Roy ?Big County? Nelson. Outside of Struve?s encounter with Dos Santos, this looming matchup with Nelson will be the biggest test of his career.
Don?t be fooled by Nelson?s laughable physique, behind that big belly is a highly skilled grappler with KO power.
As long as Struve can utilize his reach and length he should do just fine.
At 6?5? and 265 pounds Brett Rogers is a mountain of a man and with his personality and devastating punching power he is a star in the making.
2009 was a pretty good year Rogers; he was finally able to quit his job at Sam?s Club and train full time, he decimated former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in a mere 22 seconds, and he was chosen to welcome Fedor to Strikeforce.
Obviously, Rogers ended the year on a down note, losing to Fedor via KO in the second round, but there is hardly any shame in being defeated by, arguably, the best fighter in the world.
In fact, Rogers looked pretty good taking on the Russian wrecking machine. He was able to land a few good punches and even had Fedor mounted at point. Had he not gotten a little sloppy with his hand placement who knows what could have happened?
Rogers was simply beaten by a more skilled opponent that night, and that?s not necessarily a bad thing for him.
A loss is never a good thing by any means, but it isn?t entirely a negative either. Being in the cage with one of the greatest the sport has to offer highlighted the areas Rogers needs to work on. As long as he can learn from his mistakes Rogers will be even more dangerous the next time around.