Not only was Brian Stann considered a big underdog coming into his UFC 125 fight with fellow middleweight Chris Leben, many fans thought he wasn’t even worthy of the co-main event matchup with the UFC veteran.
Yea, so much for that. Stann proved the oddsmakers and naysayers wrong with a dominating first-round TKO win over Leben, a man considered one of the toughest fighters in the UFC.
The fight was face-paced from the start, and it didn’t take long for Stann to take control. Both stand-up specialists known more for their striking than their grappling, Stann and Leben started exchanging shots as soon as the fight started. Stann caught Leben with devastating right hook to the chin about midway through the round, and that essentially ended the competitive aspect of the fight. As Leben struggled to keep his footing, Stann battered him with punches. Known for his ability to withstand the hardest of punches, Leben managed to get himself off the ground, but Stann caught him with a knee to the head and referee Josh Rosenthal jumped in and stopped the carnage at 3:37 of the first round.
Following the fight Stann, a former Marine who earned the Silver Star for his actions in Iraq, dedicated his win to Sgt. Garrett A. Misener, a 2/9 Marine killed in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Dec. 27. Misener had served with Stann during his time as an officer.
“I love you Garrett, I miss you. God bless your family,” Stann said before being interviewed by UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
The win, easily the most impressive of Stann’s career, improves his MMA record to 10-3. Leben drops to 25-7. It’s Leben’s first first-round loss since current middleweight champion Anderson Silva knocked him out in June 2006.
Stann’s win against Leben is his second since moving to the UFC’s middleweight division. The former Naval Academy linebacker had previously fought exclusively as a light heavyweight.
Update: See more pictures after the jump: