All in all, 2009 was a pretty darn good year for Brian Stann. The former Marine officer and professional mixed martial artist made the jump from the WEC to the elite UFC, where he began fighting in the ultra competitve light heavyweight division. After a rocky start in the UFC, he ended up going 2-1 in 2009, and he’s put himself in position to start taking on some of the division’s top contenders.
Two of Stann’s fights were memorable enough for him to make a pair of UFC Best of 2009 lists — one good, the other not so good.
Bad list first: Stann’s loss to Krzysztof Soszynski was an honorable mention pick for the Submissions of 2009 list. This fight was Stann’s UFC debut, and the more experienced Soszynski caught him in an arm lock at 3:53 of the first round.
Following that lopsided loss, Stann fought rival Steve Cantwell for the third time in three years, a bout that was picked #8 on the UFC’s Upsets of 2009 list. Should Stann continue to rise in the UFC , this bout may be seen as his turning point. Cantwell had thoroughly beaten Stann in their previous match and was coming off two impressive fights in the UFC. Stann on the other hand was on a two-fight losing streak and the clear underdog going into the bout. Here’s the UFC description of what was at stake and what ended up going down:
Stann lost his Octagon debut to Krzysztof Soszynski and seemed to be stagnating. But in the rubber match, Stann – now working with Greg Jackson – fought a brilliant tactical fight that befuddled Cantwell for three rounds. When it was over, Stann had not only gained the upper hand in the trilogy, but he injected new life into his career.
Stann, 29, is best know for earning a Silver Star in 2005 for his actions during a battle in Iraq. A football player for the U.S. Naval Academy, Stann is still a relative newcomer to MMA, fighting his first professional bout in 2006 while still on active duty in the Corps. He is now 8-2 overall, winning his third UFC fight in early December, a three-round decision against Rodney Wallace.