Opening Round: Is Stann the Man?

In terms of the basic question, yes – Brian Stann is the man. He’s as tremendous a human being as you’ll find in the UFC or many places outside of it. However, when it comes to whether or not Stann in “the man” tol defeat top middleweight contender Chael Sonnen this Saturday night at UFC 136 the answer could be pulled directly from a Magic 8-Ball – “Outlook not so good.”

Stann may have won all three of his fights since dropping down to 185-pounds but none of the opponents stack up to Sonnen, especially in regards to wrestling. Mike Massenzio is 1-3 overall in the UFC, Chris Leben is a relatively one-dimensional brawler, and Jorge Santiago can be a head-case who was only two fights removed from a loss as is. There is talent to be found in that trio without question but not the kind that matches up well against an intelligent striker like Stann with an adequate grappling base and great camp.

Sonnen is not likely to get baited into exchanging on his feet with Stann with a second shot at Anderson Silva on the line, and even if the two do end up standing he’s not the type of fighter who gets knocked out with regularity (or at all for that matter). His primary weakness relates to submission-defense yet it seems improbable that a guy who has only tapped out a single adversary is going to sink in a choke or armbar on Sonnen.

On the flipside, Sonnen’s wrestling and control from the top resulted in his hand being raised against comparable opponents and nearly the seemingly unbeatable Silva. He is going to take Stann down early and often, then grind out a decision win.

Sorry kids, but the UFC isn’t a children’s book, and come Saturday night the in-ring magic of “He Who Chael Not Be Named” will reign supreme.

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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