There’s nothing like winning in impressive fashion in front of your fellow countrymen. Vancouver may be miles away from London, Ontario on the other side of Canada, but that didn’t stop 27-year-old Canadian lightweight Sam Stout from validating his nickname “Hands of Stone” after dropping a vicious overhand left hook square on Yves Edward’s chin.
The fight was over in an instant; Stout’s punch landed hard and Edwards entered the realm of unconsciousness, falling back with no effort and smacking his head hard on the mat. By far, that knockout was immediately thrown on the "Top 10 Knockout" list on about 20 different sites around the Internet—and well-deserving.
Once the excitement wore off, seeing Edwards still crumpled, slightly shaking in the same position he fell in, was nothing to cheer about. A vicious knockout always produces a dichotomy of reactions: an absolute appreciation that a trained athlete has enough skill and might to pull off such a result and instant concern for the guy lying on the ground.
Regardless if fans experienced either of those emotions, pundits became fixated with where such a brutal knockout victory put Stout on the lightweight totem pole. The UFC’s 155-pound division is not for the lighthearted, leaving very little room for error due to its deep talent pool.
Now that Stout has made a splash at UFC 131, will matchmaker Joe Silva reward the young Canadian a chance to elevate his career by facing the next level of competition?
He certainly deserves the shot after holding his own in the octagon for 11 matches, garnering five “Fight of the Night” honors and defeating notable guys like Spencer Fisher, Matt Wiman, Joe Lauzon and Paul Taylor.
Needless to say, Stout’s experience at this level, at his age, is an advantage that rarely goes equally matched.
After debuting in the UFC at the age of 22, his five-year ride has produced a seesaw of results, a rough lesson in how to deal with the highs and lows of competing in a sport filled with hungry, talented fighters willing to do whatever it takes to become a permanent fixture on the grandest roster in the game.
As it stands today, Stout has barely stayed afloat in the win column, tallying up nearly as many losses as he has wins. The tides have changed though. Two days after blasting a crafty veteran like Edwards into an out-of-body experience, the lightweight standings got juggled and have shifted in Stout’s favor.
It was exactly what he needed to built enough momentum to snap out of his predictable win-loss cycle, a chance to prove he belongs at the next level.
The prefect test for his next fight would be fellow striker Donald Cerrone, who consequentially clocked in at UFC 131 for a win as well. Timing should not be an issue and both guys have the chins and stand up skills to produce a “Fight of the Night” performance.
Plus, each guy’s sails are being backed by the same large gust of momentum. Somebody is bound to get derailed if they collide, which would created that exciting sense of importance leading up to a potential fight.
“The Cowboy” Cerrone put on a leg kick clinic against his opponent Vagner Rocha at UFC 131, the fourth consecutive victim after Jamie Varner, Chris Horodecki and Paul Kelly. While Cerrone has the physical tools to be a constant threat at the top of the table, his mental strength wanes from time to time.
Despite being on a solid win-streak, he has the tendency to be unjustly hard on his performances, stating a common complaint of not pulling the trigger enough on his feet, as if he has something to prove to himself. A win against Stout would help Cerrone clear his mind, enhance his confidence and help him discover his rightful place in the UFC’s lightweight division.
Even though Cerrone will eventually have to overcome a strong wrestler in the UFC and Stout will have to prove he has enough consistency to remain at the top, this would be a very intriguing fight loaded with fireworks that could be a platform jump into those future challenges for the winner.
For each competitor, this would be their respective fight to win or lose, a step towards top-five competition or a step back into the middle of the pack.
It’s a good fight for both guys and a fun fight for the fans…what could go wrong? Dana White and Joe Silva not reading this article and injury, to think of a few things….