UFC middleweight Brian Stann has been in some big fights against some big names but none of his past experiences in the cage compare to the stage set for Stann this weekend at UFC on Fuel 8. In addition to facing legendary brawler Wanderlei Silva, the bout will serve as Stann’s first headliner not to mention a relatively rare opportunity to compete in Japan.
Though Stann was born on a military base in the Land of the Rising Sun, his interest in fighting there has more to do with the role the nation played in birthing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts than a homecoming for himself.
“This is one of those things that was on the bucket list of my MMA career. I’ve always wanted to go over and fight in Japan and I’m very fortunate to be fighting in a main event. Without the fight being in Japan or against Wanderlei, this opportunity might not have come,” glowed Stann in an interview with the UFC’s website. “It’s my first time being the main event and it’s a dream come true. I’ve been scheduled there a couple of times before in the past but things have always fallen through. This is a big deal for me. I want to be a guy that the UFC continues to put in main events and co-main events because I deliver. I’m very proud of that.”
Squaring off with Silva is an added bonus in the equation, serving as an adversary who spent a good portion of his career fighting in iconic Japanese promotion PRIDE and commands respect based on his propensity for putting foes to sleep. Though Stann knows the 36-year old Brazilian isn’t quite the same force he once was, he’s approaching their outing with caution considering the power Silva still possesses.
“Preparing for the way Wanderlei fights now is different than it would have been a few years ago. You can’t count on him coming forward the entire fight. There are going to be bursts, but he’s become more economical with his strikes. He’s become a much smarter fighter and more dimensional as well. He’s added some takedown capabilities into his game as well and I’m not banking on him to just come out there swinging. I think he’s going to be much more patient in this fight,” explained Stann. “Looking at his past few fights, he’s begun to counterstrike a little bit more. I think that is an interesting tactical layer in this fight and I’m interested to see how it plays out.”
“If you look at all of his fights, there haven’t been too many where Wanderlei hasn’t hurt the person he’s fighting. Even in the fights he’s lost, he’s extremely dangerous,” he continued. “His fights against Rich Franklin were razor-thin. There were moments of those fights where it could have gone either way and he had Rich nearly finished. Wanderlei Silva is always dangerous.”
While Silva is a threat to any opponent’s consciousness, Stann is also likely to be gunning for a knockout on Saturday night when he and Silva finally lock horns. Nine of his twelve total victories have featured a strike-based stoppage.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC