By: Gage Holder
Saturday night at UFC 250 there are a lot of intriguing matchups top to the bottom on the card, especially in the men’s Bantamweight division. Notable fights include former Champ #9th ranked Cody Garbrant vs long time UFC contender #5th ranked Raphael Assuncao in a must-win for both.
Now while I could talk about one or all of these fights, all of my attention is drawn to an earlier fight during the main prelims between a legit Bantamweight prospect fighter making his Featherweight debut.
Cody Stamann vs. always game Brian Kelleher, riding a two-fight winning streak in what should surely be a great fight for many reasons. Not just because of the two men inside the cage but what we saw recently with Walt Harris’ recent return to the octagon from a tragedy – it’s not always a winning outcome.
MMA is not made for happy endings and that’s not to say Harris didn’t win in some way for him and his daughter’s memory. Now, I digress the only reason I refer to Walt Harris, and his return recently is that Cody Stamann just experienced an equally tragic loss in life.
Unexpectedly Cody’s 18-year-old brother Jacob passed away on May 27th (cause of death unknown to this point) one wonders how well Cody will handle fighting a little over a week after such a tragic loss outside the cage.
Stamman spoke with ESPN earlier this week and when asked about the possibility of pulling out of this fight with a heavy heart stated: “I just looked at it like, what would my brother want me to do?” Stamann said. “This is something that’s important to my family, important to a lot of people that are close to me in my life.
Who would I be if I said, ‘This is too much, I can’t do my job.’ A lot of people have to do their jobs regardless of things going on. I’m privileged to have the athletic career that I have, to have the family that I have, to have all these things.
It’s very heavy stuff and whether Cody can get the win Saturday night or not, the whole MMA community is behind him thinking about and praying for his family even his opponent Brian Kellaher who tweeted Wednesday “I heard the terrible news about my opponent’s brother and I know we gotta go to battle Saturday but I offer my condolences to you and prayers to you and your family @CodyStamann”
The only thing left now is for both men to weigh in, make the walk, and see what history has to say about Cody Stamman fighting so soon after experiencing something that would mentally cripple most human beings.
My predictions for the fight are that Cody comes out slow In the first round and Brian comes out guns blazing looking for the early KO, but it won’t be there. Cody weathers a storm. 2nd round Cody finds his rhythm and starts to mix in his wrestling a bit more, he gets a takedown and controls Kelleher for most of the round doing medium damage.
The set up 1-1 going into the 3rd round is where I think both guys will stand and trade for the majority of the first 2-3 mins in the close. Back and forth then late in the 3rd Stamman secures a late takedown and lands some good ground and pound with top control for the last 2 mins or so to edge a 2-1(29-28) unanimous decision.