On April 18th in Canada, former WEC Lightheavy Weight Champion Brian Stann will be making his move the UFC official when he faces TUF season eight stand out, Krzysztof Soszynski. Stann brings with him impressive athletic skills and possibly one of the most marketable and intriguing back stories in MMA today.
Brian Stann joined the Marines out of high school and became the commanding officer of the 2nd Mobile Assault Platoon. On May 18, 2005 Stann and his men were sent to take a bridge by Karabilah, Iraq. They were aware the mission would not be easy but the Marines didn't know they were walking into an ambush.
The Marines were attacked and surrounded. Trucks loaded with explosives sped into their positions, detonating and causing sever casulities. Stann kept his men in order and organized a break through getting all 42 of his men out of the kill zone out alive.
Stann was awarded the Silver Star, the second highest honor for bravery and leadership, for his preformance at Karabilah.
Stann is now a rising LHW fighter in MMA with a 6-1 record, his only loss coming in a rematch with Top 20 LHW, Steve Cantwell.
Stann's main atribute are his hands—he has very powerful boxing and excellent fitness. His grappling is very weak, which surprises some because the Marine Corp Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) draws heavily from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
I have never served in uniform and thus have never been through MCMAP training, but I do know enough about it to say its more surprising how successful a former Marine has been in MMA with his MCMAP background.
MCMAP teaches real world fighting techniques and since Marines don't have the time to become absolute hand-to-hand masters because so much is demanded of modern soldiers they learn the most effective, most deadly, and easiest to employ techniques. Small joint manipulation, eye gouges, open hand strikes, strikes to the knees and groin and cloth chokes all would be high lighted in this training.
Marines get a very general base in grappling, they aren't anticipating on running into many BJJ black-belts on the battle field, and as a result the training is very bare bones compared to the intensive programs many top fighters go through.
Out in a field with boots, shirts, and backpacks, a Marine would assuredly kill just about any MMA fighter, but in an MMA ring the Marine is usually out of his element.
That said Brian Stann has brought his "country" strength to the octagon and has been very successful at it. Mentally, it is doubtful anyone can claim to have an edge on Stann who has faced real death and thus a fight with gloves and ref just doesn't seem that intimidating.
With a career in the UFC before him, expect Stann to work on his wreslting, it is very compatiable with his impressive strength and his agressiveness. His wrestling is already at an average MMA level but to compete in the absoultly stacked LHW division in the UFC one must be able to fight standing and on the ground.
It will be very exciting to see this American Hero in action in April and moving forward. Stann is only 28 and has a good career ahead of him in MMA.