The Blueprint 9.6.12: One if by Stann
Posted by Patrick Mullin on 09.06.2012
Its Old Glory vs. the Union Jack when armed forces veteran Brian Stann represents the United States against England’s Michael Bisping. Will Stann’s power punching crack Bisping’s chin? Will Bisping’s big fight experience give him an edge over the American? We tell you who wins and why in this week’s Blueprint.
Hello everyone and welcome back to a particularly nationalistic edition of Greg Jackson's favorite column The Blueprint. This week's edition of the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show didn't get to talk much about the upcoming UFC 152 card as we spoke about the controversy surrounding Arlovski-Sylvia 4, the heel turn of Jon Jones, and the Aldo-Edgar announcement. You can listen to the show every Sunday at 11am EST on Blogtalk Radio and call in live to us at (323) 657-0901. One of the benefits of my column is that sometimes due to time constraints we don't get to talk in depth about every interesting fight that's on a show. However there are no time constraints here and I happen to find this bout very interesting.
After multiple injuries and bout shuffling in the middleweight division its only fitting these two men should have to face off. Brian Stann was cast in the role of Hector Lombard's UFC debut opponent only to have to withdraw due to a shoulder injury. Michael Bisping was supposed to take on Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 but the injury bug bit him too and he had to withdraw. Boetsch and Lombard wound up meeting each other, so it makes perfect sense that when these two healed up they should have to fight. Stann is coming off of a brutal KO over Alessio Sakara whilst Bisping was last seen losing a controversial decision to Chael Sonnen. Each man brings something different to the table, so we'll start our look with the American.
"All American" Brian Stann
Height: 6'1 Reach: 74 inches Record: 12 Wins (9 KO, 1 Submission, 2 Decision) 4 Losses (1 KO, 2 Submission, 1 Decision) Strengths: KO Power, Body Striking, Unpredictable Combinations Weaknesses: Takedown Defense, Submission Defense
Brian Stann's Keys to Victory
1) Play Quarterback - Its arguable that even considering baseball, there is no sport more American than gridiron football. People don't realize it but there are a lot of similarities between that sport and mixed martial arts. Playing offensive line for example requires exquisite footwork and the ability to punch out to control distance. Strong defense will limit what the opposition can do against you and supplement your offense by putting you into scoring position. Think of the defense creating a turnover to be the equivalent of slipping a strike and being in the right position to counter with one of your own. However it's the quarterback play that Stann should pay attention to for this fight.
To be a great passer a quarterback has to be able to lead his receiver to the ball. He has to throw the ball accurately to the spot where he anticipates his receiver will be open to catch it. This is no different than throwing a punch or kick against someone who won't stand and trade with you. Michael Bisping looks to hit and move when matched against a power hitter. So what Stann has to do is play like a quarterback in order to catch him. You spar with people to work on your timing and accuracy so when its time to legitimately fight someone you're ready. That's no different than quarterbacks and receivers working passing drills against the first team defense. This is built for ways to find an opening and score which is exactly what Stann is going to have to do.
2) Control Center Octagon - Everyone mistakenly believes that the best way to fight the threat of a takedown is to either be reactive and await the takedown attempt to sprawl out of it, or to keep moving away from the opposing fighter. The best way to fight the threat of a takedown is to keep your opponent moving away from you. You can't shoot effectively and take someone down when you're moving backwards or have to retreat from attack. Only against very limited opposition has Brian Stann successfully fought off of his back. Michael Bisping is a difficult night for everybody.
Wanderlei Silva found his success against Bisping by timing rushes against him. Bisping would be caught off guard and forced to quickly backpedal. This led to him finding himself pinned against the cage and on the receiving end of a plethora of power strikes. Stann can crack even the toughest of chins. By controlling the center of the cage Stann can dictate Bisping's movement and force the fight out of him.
3) Force the Exchanges - Following up on our preceding key to victory, Stann can use cage control to turn the fight into a brawl. Now while Stann does have a KO loss on his record against Steve Cantwell and Bisping has the majority of his wins via TKO the brawl will no doubt favor Stann. Stann has knocked out the likes of Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago with relative ease. Bisping meanwhile has been hurt by the likes of welterweight Sexyama, Dennis Kang, and Elvis Sinosic. None of those men have the power or accuracy of Stann's punches. Stann's commitment to learning the art of Muay Thai has resulted in him becoming more effective at the use of elbows and knees and so in close he can score with those blows while not being able to generate proper leverage on punches.
Brian Stann's Perfect Strategy - Simply put Stann would do well to follow the game plan used by Dan Henderson against Michael Bisping. He can use his jab and feints to force Bisping to move to his power hand, his right. If Stann is able to find a home for his right hand while avoiding takedown attempts he stands a very good chance of scoring a KO. He's more fleet of foot than Dan Henderson was and thus he stands a very good chance of being able to cut off the cage effectively and landing the KO strike.
Michael "The Count" Bisping
Height: 6'2 Reach: 76 inches Record: 22 Wins (14 KO, 4 Submission, 4 Decision) 4 Losses (1 KO, 3 Decision) Strengths: Hand Speed, Takedown Defense, Offensive Wrestling Weaknesses: Poor Chin, Strike Defense, Moving Straight Back
Michael Bisping's Keys to Victory
1) Secure the Takedown - Do you know when Brian Stann is at no threat to knock you out? When he's on his back. Brian Stann has made a lot of improvements to his skill set as a fighter over the past few years. However he still is at a complete deficit fighting anybody with grappling skills when the fight is on the ground. Michael Bisping has some of the most underrated grappling abilities of any active fighter in the UFC. Consider that against an Olympic level wrestler in Chael Sonnen that Bisping successfully defended the vast majority of his takedown attempts and even managed to take Sonnen down himself. If Michael Bisping can take down Chael Sonnen do you doubt his ability to take down Brian Stann?
The last time Stann had to face someone with a good grappling background it was also Chael Sonnen. That ended with Sonnen taking him down and making him submit to an arm triangle. Prior to that the last opponent with significant ground skills Stann faced was Phil Davis who absolutely dominated him over three rounds. While Stann has looked good as of late let's remember it's been against opposition he was SUPPOSED to look good against. There's a world of difference between Mike Masenzio and Michael Bisping.
2) Left Hand High - I'd like to think by now this is self explanatory to everyone, but let's just go with the assumption that there are people out here who don't understand what I mean. When you first learn to either box or kickbox you're not expected to learn great defensive head movement. What you learn before anything else is how to stand and where to hold your hands. Why? Well because without this you have no base to accomplish anything with. Great strikers understand that defense is just as important to you as offense.
The best way to protect yourself early on in training is holding your hands high and tight to your chin. This prevents opponents from landing flush blows to your chin. The majority of the force will be absorbed on your hands and shoulders and you won't wind up knocked out or staggering like a drunkard. Somehow Michael Bisping is still a sucker for a good straight right hand, which Brian Stann happens to throw very well. Bisping needs to avoid this blow like the plague and keep that left hand of his high and tight to use as a shock absorber if he doesn't want to count sheep.
3) Kick Early and Often - Bisping should take a page from the biggest sport in the world, soccer or as he would refer to it football. Brian Stann may have just stopped Alessio Sakara with some brutal ground and pound, but Bisping has been on his back against the likes of Rashad Evans and Matt Hamill, neither of whom was able to stop him. Those are much bigger men with much better wrestling ability than what Stann has to offer. Because of his longer reach Bisping has the ability to control the distance with his kicks and not worry about a punch counter.
If Stann is unable to close the distance than his power strikes will not land. If Stann doesn't land power strikes on Bisping he will not win this fight. When you take away the best tool someone has to use against you and in fact their only tool to use against you, you've already nearly won the fight. At that point all you have to do is avoid going to sleep and you'll walk away with the winner's share of the purse and come away with a much needed win in a competitive division.
Michael Bisping's Perfect Strategy - The best thing Michael Bisping can do is be active. He can start off attacking high with kicks and punches and lure Stann into thinking this will be a kickboxing match. From that point he can effectively shoot takedowns and bring the fight where he is at a decided advantage and work ground and pound. While Bisping is not known as a submission artist you don't have to be against Stann, who only holds the rank of blue belt and still has a habit of making poor decisions amateurs can isolate when seen. He'll be protecting his fragile chin while beating up his opponent and that's always the best result you can hope for.
Final Prediction - This fight comes down to what you believe. Do you believe Brian Stann has made the improvements necessary to avoid being taken down and beaten easily? Do you believe Michael Bisping is capable of avoiding Stann's right hand for 15 minutes? I believe more in the latter. I believe Bisping has more outs to accomplish his objective than Stann does. While some see it as a close fight to call, I see Stann's only chance being that of a puncher's chance. Only one puncher has been able to knock Bisping out.
Stann has faced careful, handpicked opposition in his last few bouts. The one time he stepped up his level of opposition he was beaten soundly by Chael Sonnen. I think the world of Stann as a man and he's a hero for his service to my home country. However that has no bearing on what happens within the cage and I feel he's at too many disadvantages here to pull out a victory.
And Your Winner Is… - Michael Bisping, TKO, Round 3