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Brian Stann: So I’m Fighting an Axe Murderer

At some point or another, every fighter has found themselves in a difficult position. Whether that comes in the heat of battle with their opponent on the attack, or at a juncture of a career where there is no longer room for a back step; an athlete competing in the competitive world of mixed martial arts has undoubtedly attempted to prepare themselves for anything that may come their way. In a sport where anything can and often does happen, a fighter‘s ability to adapt and adjust under pressure can make all the difference. It is in those moments where a competitor either finds the moxie to stand and deliver, or collapses under the weight of what is raining down upon them. While natural talent and game planning provide the tools for success to be achieved, on many occasions it requires intangible resources to claim victory. Cliché words such as “heart” and “determination” are thrown around with high-frequency in mixed martial arts, and despite this being the case; there is no denying some fighters simply have it, where others unfortunately don‘t.Grit has never been an issue where Brian Stann is concerned. The war hero turned mixed martial artist has spent a lifetime standing tall in the face of adversity, as the 32-year-old has parlayed a blue-collar work ethic into a successful career on the sport‘s biggest stage in the UFC. Throughout his journey, the former standout linebacker at Navy has experienced his fair share of victory and defeat. But every time Stann has been forced to take a step back, he comes charging forward reinvigorated.The Marine Corps veteran has proven capable of bouncing back from a difficult situation in the past, and his ability to do so will undoubtedly be tested this Saturday night when he squares off with MMA legend Wanderlei Silva at UFC on FUEL TV 8 in Japan. The bout with “The Axe Murderer” will be Stann‘s first showing inside the Octagon since dropping a unanimous decision defeat to Michael Bisping at UFC 152 last September. The loss to “The Count” knocked Stann from the ranks of title contention, and with the divisional picture becoming increasingly competitive; Stann needs a victory over Silva to keep pace with the pack. The former Chute Boxe fighter built his legacy competing in Japan as he put together one of the most dominant runs in mixed martial arts history while competing under the now-defunct PRIDE banner. While the 36-year-old Brazilian may be on the downside of his career, there is no aspect of the matchup Stann is taking lightly. Competing in front of the fabled Japanese audience is something Stann has aspired to do since his fighting career began. When the high-profile status of the tilt being a main event factored in, Stann is thankful for the opportunity at hand.“I was born at Yokota Air Base in Japan and it certainly adds an interesting layer to the fight,” Stann said. “I don‘t remember anything because I was so young and I didn‘t live there very long, but it is a place I‘ve always wanted to fight. Even earlier in my career when I was in the WEC I always thought it would be really cool to fight in Japan at some point. PRIDE was still going on back then and MMA was such a huge sport over there. I never thought I‘d get the opportunity because at the time, the WEC and UFC certainly weren‘t traveling over to put on fights in Japan. 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.“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.”The matchup between Stann and Silva will feature two fighters who have the ability to end the action with a single punch. The former WEC light heavyweight champion is a powerful counterstriker who has punished opponents in the past when they‘ve become overaggressive. In bouts with TUF alum Chris Leben and MMA veterans Jorge Santiago and Alessio Sakara, Stann‘s improved footwork and timing allowed him to capitalize on the openings that were presented. In all three cases, the Pennsylvania-based fighter ended the action in brutal fashion, scoring highlight reel-worthy victories in the process.Stann‘s striking style seems custom-made to answer the problems Silva brings to the table, as the former PRIDE middleweight champion has made a career of blitzing the opposition with his aggressive Muay Thai-based attack. That being said, in his most recent fights, Silva has taken a different approach. The “mad dog” rushes are still very much present and his power is always a threat, but Silva has begun t…

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