MMA: How Middleweight Contender Brian Stann Compares to Anderson Silva Today

Todd SeylerContributor IJune 1, 2011

MMA: How Middleweight Contender Brian Stann Compares to Anderson Silva Today

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    Brian Stann lands a left hook on Jorge Santiago
    Brian Stann lands a left hook on Jorge Santiago

    Since dropping from light heavyweight to middleweight, and utilizing the mastery of Greg Jackson and the Jackson Fighting Submission camp, middleweight contender Brian "The All-American" Stann has decimated his opposition.

    Thoroughly lambasting Chris Leben on New Year's Day, Stann followed up his knockout victory of "The Crippler" with a second round TKO of former Sengoku middleweight champion, Jorge Santiago.

    Exploding through the middleweight stratosphere of competition, Stann has become highly regarded as a future challenger to the legendary icon and current middleweight champion, Anderson "The Spider" Silva.

    Before placing Stann in the same breath as Silva, a breakdown of their skill-sets is necessary to determine if at this point in time, "The All-American" has the talent necessary to challenge "The Spider."

    Or if the former Marine will become another victim of Anderson Silva's unbelievable highlight reel of knockouts.

    Please follow along as I breakdown the various components of the fight game and whether Brian Stann or Anderson Silva has the advantage at this point in their development.

    I welcome your comments.

    Todd Seyler

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Stand-Up Striking Offense: Anderson Silva

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    The immortal one, Anderson "The Spider" Silva
    The immortal one, Anderson "The Spider" Silva

    With 16 career knockouts in 28 wins, there is no denying that Anderson Silva is a truly gifted knockout specialist.

    Ending the night prematurely for the likes of Rich Franklin, Vitor Belfort, James Irvin, and Nate Marquardt, Silva possesses amazing stand-up skills.

    With the ability to maximize striking angles at various planes, Silva's striking combinations are not only fluid, but they are devastatingly precise and powerful.

    Brian Stann has shown periods of glory with his stand-up striking skills. Yet, he is still not at the level of Anderson Silva who is purely the greatest striker in all of mixed martial arts.

    Advantage: Anderson Silva

Stand-Up Defense: Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva defending punches
    Anderson Silva defending punches

    During Brian Stann's last fight with Jorge Santiago, the former Marine was clipped with a variety of strikes, including a spinning back fist which landed, yet had no power behind it.

    Relying heavily on his strong chin, Stann relies on his ability to take strikes and continue to press forward.

    This philosophy will not be beneficial against the power and destructive striking ability of Anderson Silva.

    Contrastingly, Silva is known for his matrix-esque qualities inside the Octagon.

    Slipping punches like the former great, Muhammed Ali, Silva will stand in the center of the cage, hands down, and bob and weave his way out of taking any serious contact.

    Amazingly gifted in his defensive brilliance, there is no denying that "The Spider" holds a strong advantage over Brian Stann in this department.

    Advantage: Anderson Silva

Utilizing All Eight Weapons in the Stand-Up Exchanges: Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva landing a vicious high kick
    Anderson Silva landing a vicious high kick

    The diversity of strikes executed by mixed martial artists provides the fans with an unparalleled level of entertainment.

    Considering that a vicious head kick, or crushing elbow strike, or a straight 1-2 combination can finish the night for any fighter, the variety of offense employed within ultimate fighting makes this sport like no other.

    The ability to utilize all eight weapons, and implement them into an offensive arsenal effectively allows for a fighter to keep his opponent off-balance and guessing where the next strike is coming from.

    Anderson Silva is legendary within the sport for varying his striking combinations.

    His last four knockout victories have included a front kick to Vitor Belfort, two wins by punches, and a destruction of Rich Franklin from knee strikes.

    Diverse in his striking prowess, Silva's ability to utilize all eight weapons during the stand-up exchanges is why he is the most dangerous striker on the planet.

    Advantage: Anderson Silva

Muay-Thai Clinch and Subsequent Strikes: Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva landing a brutal knee to Rich Franklin
    Anderson Silva landing a brutal knee to Rich Franklin

    Brian Stann has evolved from a boxer, into a kick-boxer, and has now shown glimmers of Muay-Thai kick-boxing as well.

    Beginning to incorporate knees from from the clinch, Stann landed a few destructive knees to the body of Chris Leben during their fight back on New Year's Day.

    With that said, however, Anderson Silva is the pioneer of the Muay-Thai clinch and the subsequent strikes delivered from close quarters.

    Rich Franklin can speak about the damage inflicted by the clinch of Silva. Additionally, Silva is extremely resourceful at landing a variety of elbows and tight punches from the clinch as well.

    Combine these devastating strikes with the knockout power of Silva's knees, and he clearly holds the advantage over a developing Stann in the Muay-Thai clinch department.

    Advantage: Anderson Silva

Offensive Takedowns: Push

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    Randy Savage landing his trademark elbow on Hulk Hogan
    Randy Savage landing his trademark elbow on Hulk Hogan

    Neither Brian Stann or Anderson Silva utilizes take-downs within their offensive arsenal all that much.

    Since being signed to the UFC in 2006, "The Spider" has attempted four offensive take-downs. Of which, he has been successful in executing three, providing him with a 75% success rate.

    In contrast, "The All-American" has only been successful in executing one of his eight take-down attempts.

    Clearly Stann has a lower percentage of success. However, considering that neither fighter has an establishing grappling game, I consider this category a push.

    Advantage: Push

    (Instead of displaying a random take-down in the picture, I wanted to pay homage to one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time, Randy "The Macho Man" Savage.)

Takedown Defense: Anderson Silva

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    Chael Sonnen controlling Anderson Silva on the ground
    Chael Sonnen controlling Anderson Silva on the ground

    Anderson Silva has been successful in avoiding 80% of attempted take-downs as compared to Brian Stann's 60% success rate.

    With that said, both Silva and Stann have had their issues with accomplished wrestlers with solid stand-up skills.

    Chael Sonnen exploited Silva's deficiencies within the grappling department for most of their five round affair.

    Additionally, Stann has shown weaknesses in his take-down defense against highly skilled grapplers.

    If there is one hole in Silva's overall fight-game, it is his ability to thwart off accomplished grapplers with advanced stand-up capabilities.

    Therefore, due to the sheer volume of fights that Anderson Silva has been engaged in and the fact that he has faced much tougher competition as compared to Brian Stann, a slight advantage goes to Silva in this department. 

    Advantage: Anderson Silva

Overall Jiu-Jitsu Game: Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva locking in a triangle choke on Chael Sonnen
    Anderson Silva locking in a triangle choke on Chael Sonnen

    Not known for his jiu-jitsu brilliance, Anderson Silva is a black belt practitioner under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

    Silva has earned two Submission of the Night awards and has executed a variety of stunning submission victories, including his most recent triangle choke of Chael Sonnen.

    Training with Nogueira and the other members of the Black House fight team provides Silva a clear-cut advantage in the jiu-jitsu game when compared to Stann.

    Even though "The Spider" prefers the knockout, he is more than capable of a tapout victory.

    Advantage: Anderson Silva

Ground-and-Pound Arsenal: Push

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    Fedor Emelianenko delivering vicious ground-and-pound
    Fedor Emelianenko delivering vicious ground-and-pound

    Very rarely do we see either Brian Stann or Anderson Silva in an opponent's guard.

    However, on the few occasions in which this does occur, both Stann and Silva have proven effective in delivering a suitable ground-and-pound offense.

    With long arms and the ability to deliver power shots from in-close, Stann and Silva have landed some effective strikes from their opponent's guard and have utilized those strikes to look for a guard pass.

    Neither fighter leverages their fight strategy on the ground-and-pound attack and therefore I consider this category to be a push as well.

    Advantage: Push

    (If by the off chance either Stann or Silva read this article, they may want to take a page out of Fedor Emelianenko's vicious display of ground-and-pound offense. His striking from the guard was always a work of art.)

Physical Attributes: Conditioning, Physical Strength and Power: Brian Stann

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    Brian Stann's physical prowess is second to none
    Brian Stann's physical prowess is second to none

    Brian Stann, a former Marine and inside linebacker on the United States Naval Academy football team, possesses the physical attributes necessary for a grueling five-round slug fest inside the Octagon.

    In top shape for each and every fight, there is no denying that the work ethic and dedication instilled by our Armed Forces have carried over into Stann's preparation for the cage.

    With seemingly unlimited cardiovascular conditioning, and the physical strength and power that has manhandled each one of his opponents in the middleweight division, Stann's physical prowess is second to none.

    Advantage: Brian Stann

Intangibles: Experience, Confidence, Demeanor: Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva is the champ, and for good reason
    Anderson Silva is the champ, and for good reason

    Intangibles inside the Octagon can play a dominant role in the success of a fighter.

    Cage experience, preparation for big fights, calming of the nerves, and so much more goes into the makeup of a championship battle.

    Anderson Silva has sat atop the UFC middleweight throne as king since 2006.

    He has fought the best the UFC has placed in front of him, and has won each and every time. The experience he has gained as a fighting champion is without comparison within the sport.

    With eight consecutive title defenses, and 13 consecutive wins within the UFC, the advantage of the intangibles surely rests with the champ.

    Advantage: Anderson Silva

Report Card: Comparing Brian Stann to Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva knocking out Vitor Belfort with a vicious front kick
    Anderson Silva knocking out Vitor Belfort with a vicious front kick

    How does Brian Stann compare to Anderson Silva amongst the various facets necessary to be an ultimate fighting champion?

    Please allow me to recap.

    Stand-up Striking: Anderson Silva

    Stand-up Defense: Anderson Silva

    Utilizing all eight offensive weapons: Anderson Silva

    Muay-Thai Clinch and subsequent strikes: Anderson Silva

    Offensive take-downs: Push

    Take-down defense: Anderson Silva

    Jiu-Jitsu Game: Anderson Silva

    Ground-and-pound: Push

    Physical Attributes: Brian Stann

    Intangibles: Anderson Silva

    Overall Advantage: Anderson Silva

    As of today, Brian Stann is not yet at the caliber of de-throning the king, Anderson Silva. Potential goes a long way in this sport. And Stann possesses a maximum amount of potential.

    However, his current abilities as an ultimate fighter would not guarantee him a victory against the most lethal striker on the planet and one of the two greatest pound-for-pound talents within all of mixed martial arts.

    In time with continued development, Stann may have the ability to compete against Silva for the UFC middleweight championship. 

    Brian Stann's time may come. But that time is not now.