A former WEC light heavyweight champion, Stann was on a three-fight winning streak prior to the loss to Sonnen, but he’s looking to make that loss just a blip on the radar.
The first step towards that occurred when he stepped into the cage with Alessio Sakara in Sweden.
Working hard to shore up any holes in his game, Muay Thai being a primary focus of late, Stann used what he has learned to great benefit. He and Sakara briefly went toe-to-toe to start off the fight, but Stann clinched wobbled Sakara with several driving knees.
“I’ve really been working a lot to shore up my holes,” said Stann.
He did that and then some. Sakara fell onto his back from the knees, Stann immediately following up with several heavy punches. The former Marine then dropped into Sakara’s guard, blasting away until a couple short, hard left hands put Sakara’s lights out just long enough for the referee to stop the fight.
Stann has always drawn on the emotional points in his life as inspiration for his success, often citing his brothers and sisters in arms, but on Saturday, he drew from another very difficult episode in his life.
“My inspiration tonight comes from my brother in law,” he stated, his voice wavering. “We lost you at Christmas; we don’t know why. Everything you taught us, we carry with us.”
The victory puts Stann back on the middleweight championship roadmap, but he knows there’s still work to do before he will once again be mentioned as a possible title contender.
“I lost big, now I gotta climb back up, that’s fine.”