April 14, 2012 will mark the Ultimate Fighting Championship's first foray into Sweden with UFC on FuelTV 2: Gustafsson vs. Silva.
Emanating from the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, the record-setting event will feature a middleweight contest between veteran Alessio "Legionarius" Sakara and former WEC light heavyweight champion and U.S. Marine, "All-American" Brian Stann.
Heading into this bout, there are a few questions I would like to delve into. Here are five of the most pressing.
Currently, Brian Stann has a professional mixed martial arts record of 11-4, which is highly respectable in a combat sport where the cliché “anything can happen” holds truer than anywhere else.
Stann is 5-3 in the UFC, but is 3-1 in the middleweight division. The “All-American’s” sole loss at 185 pounds came at the hands of the consensus No. 2 middleweight in the world, Chael Sonnen.
On the surface, it would seem reasonable to conclude Brian Stann is in the upper echelon of talent at middleweight.
Is he, though?
Looking below the iceberg’s tip shows his mid-level status, which leads us into the next question…
Looking into Stann’s overall record shows us his most notable win is over Chris Leben.
“The Crippler” is a formidable opponent for anyone, but has never truly broken into the proverbial “mix” at any point in his career. Leben was noticeably sluggish and it was revealed how ill he was going into the bout.
Stann’s other two wins at middleweight are against Mike Massenzio (13-6) and, most recently, against Jorge Santiago (24-10). Neither are anywhere near the top-10 in the middleweight division.
When faced with a top-10 opponent (granted, Chael Sonnen, as mentioned, is the No. 2 middleweight in the world), Stann was thoroughly outclassed.
Looking at the way Brian Stann tends to lose brings us to our next question…
As of right now, the answer is a resounding YES…
Brian Stann has yet to show us what he can do to stop a truly good grappler/wrestler. Two of Stann’s four losses came by way of submission (a kimura by Krysztof Soszynski at LHW and an arm-triangle by Chael Sonnen at MW), and his decision loss was due to a dominant wrestling display by Phil Davis (LHW).
Stann looked very good against Mike Massenzio, but his triangle-choke was somewhat of a gift as Massenzio was easily out-wrestling the “All-American.”
Knowing Stann’s grappling deficiencies, one has to wonder…
I do not need to go into any length to explain who Greg Jackson is, do I?
Well, alongside Mike Winklejohn, Greg Jackson is the most recognizable and successful trainer in all of Mixed Martial arts. And I dare someone to prove otherwise
Jackson’s strategies for each of his fighters are beauty in combat form, at least in my perception. The most noticeable feature of of his system is grappling/submission wrestling.
Knowing this, it would be safe to assume Brian Stann should be one of the better grapplers in the division; however, maybe he’s not getting the attention he needs to truly perfect this portion of his game?
Just look at the list of fighters currently in the Jackson’s MMA stable (it’s actually ridiculous): Jon Jones (current UFC LHW Champ), George St. Pierre (current UFC WW Champ), Carlos Condit (current UFC Interim WW Champ)… Oh, you want me to go on? Donald Cerrone, Diego Sanchez, Brendon Shaub, Shane Carwin, Keith Jardine, Clay Guida, Nate Marquardt… Really? Keep going? I think you get the picture.
So let’s ask ourselves…
It leaves Stann right where he is…mid-level.
Beating “Legionarius” proves what we already know—Brian Stann beats people who will stand and trade with him.
Unfortunately, this specific striker is another opponent nowhere near the top-10 in the middleweight division, and losing to Sakara will certainly put a halt to Brian Stann’s rise at 185 pounds.
With that said, I cannot see Alessio Sakara standing and trading with Stann without getting his chin stricken from his mandible.