The date: September 16, 2009
The location: Cox Convention Center of Oklahoma City, OK
The deal: Among the debut of The Ultimate Fighter 10, a cast of rising stars, and potentially Roger Huerta's last fight; we'll see the third installment of what could be considered an epic, yet brief war between Steve "The Robot" Cantwell and "All American" Brian Stann.
Brian Stann burst onto the scene in the WEC as a destructive striker with the ability to end fights in an electrifying fashion.
His first five fights all ended in the first round by TKO and it didn't stop when he snatched the light-heavyweight strap from Doug Marshall. However, to be considered a true champion, one must defend the belt.
Despite suffering a dazing setback against Brian Stann in his fourth fight, Steve Cantwell continued to grow and prosper as a youthful fighter while earning short, noteworthy victories.
After finishing his next two fights in the first round, Cantwell earned his rematch against Stann, who happened to be the champ looking to defend the belt for the first time.
Cantwell came into the fight as the underdog as most fans thought Stann was going to steamroll over "The Robot." It appeared to be true as both fighters traded punches with Stann landing more often.
Yet, at the ripe young age of 21, Cantwell showed everybody that his overall game had been renovated and began to unleash effective combo after combo. He earned himself an exhausting knock-out victory in the second round to win the belt.
Nevertheless, the WEC soon disbanded their light-heavyweight and middleweight divisions to focus solely on the lighter weight classes. The UFC absorbed the contracts of both Brian Stann and Steve Cantwell.
Cantwell made his UFC debut first on the card of UFC: Fight for the Troops where he took on fellow new-comer, Razak Al-Hassan.
He appeared to be in top-form, avoiding the pestering striking of Al-Hassan while landing clean, unanswered blows to the head. Eventually the fight went to the ground where Cantwell grabbed a hold of Razak's arm, ultimately breaking it after Razak's refusal to tap.
Cantwell's next fight was against another rising prospect at UFC 97, taking on the menacing striker Luiz Cane.
Cantwell appeared to be struggling through-out the fight as Cane stalked and regularly landed devastating combos. In the second round, Cantwell began to find his range and comfort level with some successful combos of his own. However, Cane out-classed "The Robot" on his way to a unanimous decision.
Brian Stann made his UFC debut later on that same night against The Ultimate Fighter 8 fan favorite, Krzysztof Soszynski.
Stann seemed to be controlling the fight up until the point Soszynski scored a take-down, which most would go on to say is Stann's biggest weakness. Soszynski transitioned easily and eventually finished the "All American" with his trademark Kimura.
So what we have here is two potentially great fighters that are both coming off of a loss. They each have a victory over one another from their WEC days. So why not settle the score, a trilogy if you will.
Both fighters have an equally great chance of taking the victory in this one. It really depends on who's been training harder and who wants it more. Both guys like to stand and strike, regardless of how much damage they can do while having top control on the ground.
What it comes down to for this particular fight is how much has Stann improved?
If he is the same fighter that we've seen throughout his career, then there is no doubt that the ever-improving Steve Cantwell will walk away with another quick win. However, if he has added some new techniques to his arsenal, fans may see the possible rise of Brian Stann.
Either way, the winner has a bright future in the UFC.
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