TUF Nations Finale: Sam Stout Has “Smart Game Plan” in Mind, But Isn’t Going to Run From KJ Noons
By Kelsey Mowatt
Chances are the words ‘stand-up’ and ‘war’ immediately came to the mind of many fans, upon hearing that Sam Stout will fight KJ Noons at the April 16th, TUF Nations Finale in Quebec City. After all, not only have Stout (20-9-1) and Noons (12-7) received plenty of praise for their pugilistic skills over the years, but both men have participated in their fair share of memorable wars. Stout, in fact, has competed in six “Fight of the Nights” to date.
While there’s clearly a good chance the upcoming bout will feature several heated, stand-up exchanges, other strategies could play out.
“Definitely, yeah. I’ve been trying to work on becoming a more well rounded, mixed-martial-artist,” Stout relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing the fact his tool kit features more than just kicks and punches. “This is one of those opportunities to showcase that. This is a guy who’s not as dangerous as some of my past opponents on the ground, and he’s very dangerous on his feet.”
“He packs a lot in his punches; he might not be the best guy to stand in front of for three rounds,” furthered Stout, who is coming off a clear cut, unanimous decision win over Cody McKenzie at UFC on FOX 9 in December. “I’m getting a little bit older and these wars are getting a bit harder on me than they used to be, so it might be nice to look to take him down and steal some rounds maybe, do some damage, and possibly even look for a finish on the ground.”
While Stout has worked hard to round out his skills, and has utilized his wrestling and top game in recent fights, the 29 year-old hasn’t radically overhauled his approach.
“Even if I’m going out with a smart game plan, and trying to execute some takedowns and what not, I’m still going to go in there and I’m not going to run away from anybody,” said Stout, while discussing his fighting style and the numerous bonuses he’s won as a result. “As long as I get an opponent who feels the same way, and isn’t going to run away, then it usually turns out to be fireworks. A guy like KJ, I haven’t seen him backing up too much, he’s in the pocket, he throws, so this is potentially another “Fight of the Night” for sure.”
Noons’ reputation as a top notch striker not only stems from his time in MMA, but due to the fact he has also competed professionally in boxing and kickboxing.
“There’s definitely some things that I’ve been watching, tendencies I’ve been watching for in his stand-up game, but it’s going to be a tough night though,” said Stout, when asked if he sees some openings in Noons’ stand-up game. “He’s really good at what he does, he closes the distance really well with his jab. He’s got some power in both hands; he doesn’t kick a whole lot in most of his fights, and he’s tough to take down.”
“He poses some really interesting threats,” added Stout, who also has competed as a professional kickboxer. “It’s a really good match-up for me I think though. It’s kind of funny…our striking style is a little bit different, but we have a very similar fighting style, a good sprawl, good striking, so we match really evenly against each other I think.”
The TUF Nations Finale will be hosted by Quebec City’s Colisee Pepsi, and will feature Michael Bisping taking on fellow middleweight contender Tim Kennedy in the main event.