(Perhaps “Professor X” should consider changing his nickname to “Mister Fantastic.”)
Since being ousted from the UFC following a pair of losses to Denis Kang and Drew McFedries in 2009, the times have been tough on Xavier “Professor X” Foupa-Pokam. He’s won just three out of his past twelve fights (which could be worse *cough* Sean Salmon *cough*) and he had to suffer through this hellacious armbar at the hands of Jack Marshman in his appearance at BAMMA 11 on December 1st just to walk away with a split decision victory.
(Foupa-Pokam’s most recent fight, against Kyacey Uscola at PFC 12 in January. The KO comes at the video’s 8:12 mark.)
UFC 97: Redemption goes down this Saturday in Montreal, and among the card’s horde of Brazilians, Canadians, and TUF vets are three dudes who will be looking to prove themselves in the Octagon for the first time. These are their stories…
BRIAN STANN (LHW) Experience: 6-1 record primarily in the WEC, with all wins by first-round TKO. Holds victories over Aaron Stark, Steve Cantwell, and Doug Marshall. Will be facing:Krzysztof Soszynski (16-8-1, 1-0 UFC) Lowdown: Stann became the WEC’s light-heavyweight champion in March 2008 when he knocked out Doug Marshall at WEC 33, but lost the title in his first defense when he was TKO’d by Steve Cantwell — who Stann had defeated in a previous fight. Stann and Cantwell were supposed to have their rubber match at UFC’s "Fight for the Troops" event last December, but Stann was forced to pull out with a foot injury; Cantwell went on to snap the arm of Razak Al-Hassan then brag about it. A former Captain in the U.S. Marines and Iraq war vet, Stann was awarded the Silver Star after saving the asses of his entire 42-man platoon following an unfortunate ambush-situation near Karabilah, which was later portrayed on the History Channel show Shootout! He hails from Scranton, Pennsylvania.
XAVIER FOUPA-POKAM (MW) Experience: 20-9 record (18 wins by stoppage in the first two rounds) with multiple appearances in Cage Rage and Palace Fighting Championship. Will be facing:Denis Kang (31-11-1, 0-1 UFC) Lowdown: Currently riding a seven-fight win streak, the 26-year-old Frenchman describes his Muay Thai-based style as "very violent." Professor X splits his training time between Team Quest in Temecula, California — where he acted as an Anderson Silva-mimic when Dan Henderson was preparing for his middleweight title fight against the Spider at UFC 82 — and Cyrille Diabate’s Snake Team in Paris. Before devoting his life to fighting, Foupa-Pokam was a cameraman and director’s assistant, and calls filmmaking his "second passion." He has three DQ losses on his record, due to an ill-fitting mouthpiece that kept falling out (in a fight against Martin Kampmann), an accidental groin strike, and an illegal elbow on the ground during an event where they weren’t allowed. Canada will be the twelfth country he’s competed in.
U.K.-based MMA organization Cage Rage is putting on a thoroughly kickass show tomorrow, featuring Murilo “Ninja” Rua, Elvis Sinosic, Mark Weir, Neil Grove, and TUF3 alum Ross Pointon. Check out the full fight card here. I’d never heard of Rua’s opponent Xavier Foupa-Pokam (please keep your “fupa-poker” jokes to yourself), so I decided to search for a clip of him in action, which I’ve posted below. Rua might have his hands full, as Foupa-Pokam looks like a sharp striker who’s absolutely deadly once he falls on his ass. You should also keep an eye out for Neil Grove, a 4-0 heavyweight bruiser whose last two fights resulted in a 10-second knockout of James “The Colossus” Thompson (the video is below) and a 34-second TKO of Domagoj Ostojic. Cage Rage 24 can be seen live at ProElite.com PPV; the action kicks off at 1 p.m. ET.
(Xavier Foupa-Pokam vs. Alex Cook at Cage Rage 18, 9/30/06)
(Neil Grove vs. James Thompson at Cage Rage 22, 7/14/07)