The Film Room: Cody Stamann

By Kevin Wilson Dec 6, 2019
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Top 10-ranked bantamweight Cody Stamann on Saturday will set foot inside the Octagon for the sixth time when he takes on Yadong Song in a three-round battle at UFC on ESPN 7 in Washington, D.C. Stamann remains a relative unknown, but he rates as one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division and could be a few significant wins away from making a name for himself in a stacked weight class.

The 30-year-old Michigan Top Team standout steps into the spotlight in this edition of The Film Room.

Stamann started boxing as a teenager and wrestled collegiately for Grand Valley State University, so he was working on his MMA skills before he even found the sport. On the lead, Stamann is rather patient. He likes to hand fight and feint from range before blitzing in with a quick combo and resetting at a safe distance. Something to notice: He always jabs into his combos and will occasionally switch stances in the pocket during them. Stamann is far from a fluid switch hitter, but it is nice to see him mixing in new techniques. Switching stances during combos makes the switch hard to notice and allows his strikes after the switch to come in at an angle the opponent was not expecting. The only problem with Stamann’s leading attacks is the lack of chances he takes. He is a bit too patient and has had some close split decisions because of it. Since he is comfortable on the ground, he should not be afraid of overextending occasionally and leaving his hips open. Hopefully, he ups the aggression in this fight.

Stamann can win fights from the outside, but his in-the-pocket counter boxing is where he truly shines as a striker. Stamann likes to plod forward with jabs and quick combos from the outside because it sets up his counters. This slight but consistent pressure forces a reaction out of his opponents, which he can counter in the pocket. His go-to is a standard counter right hook over his opponents’ jab and a quick counter lead hook when they try to throw a right of their own.

Something else to admire about Stamann’s striking is his liberal use of knees in the clinch. He does not initiate the clinch often, but if the opponent overextends, he will duck, grab a collar tie and land a quick knee to the body before breaking the clinch. He also likes to work his way up to the clinch after defending a takedown and throw a quick knee before breaking, as we saw against Bryan Caraway.

Stamann does not throw many kicks, but he does like the low-line side kick and the occasional rear-leg front kick. The problem? He often follows up the low-line kick with the front kick, a tendency his future opponents could read and exploit. He also does not use either kick to close the distance and set up other strikes. The low-line kick in MMA is mostly used to keep aggressive opponents at bay. However, it can also be utilized to take a step inside or outside of the opponent’s guard to create a dominate angle. Stamann has a below-average reach for a bantamweight, so he could benefit from using it as a range finder rather than a distance attack.

Stamann only has five fights in the UFC, but we have seen a clear path to victory against him. He struggles fighting backward and rushes his back to the cage with the slightest amount of pressure. With his back against the cage, he will throw a front kick or simply lift his lead leg. The lead leg can be used to defend in the pocket, but generally, it is not wise to put yourself on one leg during an exchange.

Stamann can also win fights on the ground, but as his career has progressed, he relies on his grappling much less. He has a nice power double-leg that can get most opponents down, but if that fails, he will wait for the opponent to strike and duck for a counter takedown. The problem with Stamann’s grappling is he has a hard time keeping opponents down and does not do much with his top position during the brief moments on the ground. Song is an elite striker but he has struggled on the ground in the past, so Stamann might not take any chances on the feet and shoot for the hips as much as possible.

Caraway was the only opponent who routinely tried to take Stamann to the ground, and he made him pay for every attempt with his usual knee to the body before exiting the clinch.

Stamann’s only loss in the UFC came to Aljamain Sterling in 2018, as he submitted to a Suloev stretch late in the second round. The fight was close before the finish, and getting caught with a rare submission is really nothing to worry about moving forward. Stamann is a fine striker, but his best path to victory in this fight is on the ground. Song is an intelligent striker with quick reactions, cautious defense and true one-punch knockout power, and he does not figure to fall for any of Stamann’s usual tricks. Still, Stamann could surprise and put on a dominant grappling performance to prove he belongs with the elite of the division. Advertisement


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