First, click below to see how former Marine Brian Stann put Alessio Sakara’s lights out after about 2 1/2 minutes of action Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden, as part of UFC on FUEL TV 2. Then, click through for four quick hits on the fight and Stann’s future:
1. Well, that was quick: A few thousand miles in the air for 146 seconds’ worth of fighting — it was Stann’s eighth career first-round stoppage, according to Sherdog. The win ups his record to 12-4, drops Sakara to 15-9 and puts the former Marine back on the path to top-tier fights in the 185-pound weight class.
2. Self-stoppage: It’s not everybody who can knock a man senseless and, in the aftermath, be praised for his restraint, good sportsmanship and all-around role-model-ness. But Stann pulled it off, stopping his onslaught and gesturing to the referee after Sakara appeared to lose consciousness. Even the most casual mixed martial arts viewer has seen fighters continuing the assault in similar situations, or seen a referee wait too long to step in, or both. Even UFC president Dana White, who remains unranked on most folks’ Top 10 Nice Guys list, tweeted his admiration.
3. Speaking of rankings: Stann was in the top 10 of most middleweight rankings (i.e. here and here) before the win over Sakara. But rising much higher, especially right away, could prove problematic. Take the Sherdog list, for example:
- No. 1 Anderson Silva and No. 2 Chael Sonnen are scheduled to fight in Brazil, sooner or later.
- No. 3 Mark Munoz suffered an elbow injury and had to pull out of a fight with Sonnen in January.
- No. 4 Michael Bisping is set to fight No. 7 Tim Boetsch in July.
- No. 5 Vitor Belfort has a fight with Wanderlei Silva in June.
- No. 6 Nate Marquardt has a bout in the works with Tyron Woodley, according to Sherdog.
- No. 8 Yushin Okami has been knocked out in each of his last two fights.
Stann ranks ninth. If Munoz can fight relatively soon, it creates a natural summer matchup where the winner could be in the title mix along with the winner of the Belfort/Silva and Bisping/Boetsch fights. If not, Stann’s left without a dance partner.
4. Fantasy matchmaking: Stann’s post-fight quotes were of the traditional “whoever’s next up the ladder” variety, but he’s been clear in the past about who he’d like to face. Bisping’s British bad-boy rep matches perfectly with Stann’s all-American nice-guy attitude from a marketing perspective, and while we’re not talking pro wrestling here, the UFC is still about selling fights. Other dream-match options? Maybe a high-profile fight with Jake Shields, who’d be coming up a weight class. Or if you’re going to think outside the box and even outside the UFC, there’s always Tim Kennedy, another marketable middleweight with a military background (Army enlisted vs. Marine officer? Throw out the record books.) who’s got nothing official on his fight card in the coming months but has found some unique ways to stay on fight fans’ radar.