Cody Stamann dominated in the wrestling department enough to derail one of MMA’s brightest prospects Saturday night.
Stamann, a 27-year-old with Michigan Top Team, rode a dominant second round to score a split decision victory over fellow bantamweight Tom Duquesnoy in the featured bout of Saturday night’s UFC 216 prelims on FX. Two judges gave each fighter a 29-28 score, while another had “Mr. Wonderful” taking all rounds, 30-27.
Duquesnoy, who entered the fight on an 11-fight win streak, took the opening period, was brought down by an early attempt, but prevented the full completion and landed a right almost immediately after when he got to his feet. He then succeeded on a combination of punches followed by a big straight left, a punch that proved to be his most successful in the fight early on.
The Sparta native rallied, though. Stamann wasn’t bothered by a variation of rights from the Frenchman early in Round 2, completing a double-leg takedown early on. An attempt to change levels and stack Duquesnoy allowed the former BAMMA Champion to escape, but Stamann repeated and brought him down again with just over a minute remaining to capture the round.
Despite being the Vegas underdog and thought of by some experts as the lesser on his feet, Stamann continued to show a good penchant for mixing up his offense, varying with a head kick and a left kick to keep Duquesnoy honest. Despite missing a head kick that left him face up on the ground in the final 30 seconds of the bout, he appeared to do enough to win the decisive round.
The win is Stamann’s second since joining the organization, and improves him to 16-1 overall, his only loss coming in late 2014 by split decision. Of his victories, 12 of Stamann’s came with various promotions (including here) in Michigan before getting the call-up for his debut victory over Terrion Ware at UFC 213 in July.
Major publications including Bloody Elbow and Bleacher Report have had Duquesnoy in recent years at the top of prospect lists in the sport, so it’s undoubtedly the biggest win of Stamann’s career, and one that should propel him onto top 10 lists.