The 411 MMA Top 10 4.13.14: Top 10 Roy Nelson Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 04.14.2014
From his battle with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 143 and his fight with Kimbo Slice as part of TUF 10 to his wars with Matt Mitrione, Mirko Cro Cop and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 Roy Nelson fights of all-time!
Roy Nelson's Top Ten Fights
What's up everybody, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at Roy Nelson's best fights. Big Country won season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter, the IFL heavyweight title, and is consistently a top ten heavyweight since coming over to the UFC. A high level gatekeeper in the UFC's heavyweight division, Nelson is a great fighter to have around as he can main event smaller shows and usually makes for an entertaining fight. The fights are ranked based on fight quality, his personal performance, the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and some of my personal opinion.
• VS Dave Herman UFC 146- Nelson won via first round KO
• VS Brad Imes IFL Connecticut- Nelson won and defended IFL heavyweight title via first round KO
10: Vs Jeff Monson SRP March Badness
Unfortunately Jeff Monson's chin is now gone at 43 and he is currently on a six fight losing streak, but for years I enjoyed watching him rack up wins for smaller promotions. On March 21, 2009, Monson took on the former IFL heavyweight champion. In his last fight before coming over to the UFC, Nelson completely controlled this fight standing up and on the ground. Unfortunately the judges were high that night or fellow anarchists and awarded the fight to Monson by unanimous decision. It was still a pretty good fight against a former UFC number one contender and a good enough performance to get him a spot on TUF.
9: VS Stefan Struve UFN 21
In his first post-TUF fight, Nelson took on Stefan Struve in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 21. The Skyscraper was on a three fight winning streak at this point and it was cool to watch the skinny seven feet tall Struve take on the chubby six foot tall Nelson. This one only lasted thirty nine seconds and it ended as one would expect with Struve's weak chin up against Nelson's knockout power. Big Country picked up his second straight Knockout of the Night award against a pretty talented fighter.
8: VS Matt Mitrione TUF 16 Finale
Nelson would be one of the few people to win a season of TUF and later go on to coach a season of his own. Colton Smith would win it all for Team Nelson, but it really was a forgettable and lack luster season. It also didn't help that Shane Carwin would have to pull out of his fight with Nelson once again because of another injury that would eventually lead to his retirement. Fellow TUF heavyweight contestant Matt Mitrione would step up on fairly short notice and take on Nelson in the main event of the TUF 16 finale. The fight only lasted about three minutes, but it was a fun one as both fighters showed improvements in their striking. Nelson would win with a good striking combination instead of the huge overhead right that he usually throws.
7: VS Junior dos Santos UFC 117
After winning his first two fights in the UFC, Roy Nelson took on Junior dos Santos in what was supposed to be a number one contender fight. JDS was on a six fight winning streak and killed all his opponents in the UFC at this point. Now this was a clear victory for JDS as he won by unanimous decision. But Nelson stayed in the fight with his unbreakable chin and got in plenty of his own shots towards the end of the fight to make things entertaining.
6: VS Cheick Kongo UFC 159
Big Country was on a two fight winning streak when he took on Cheick Kongo at UFC 159. Kongo has a habit of just holding fighters up against the cage and humping them to victory, but he is usually near or in the top fifteen heavyweight rankings. It looked like Kongo was going to be able to implement his usual strategy against Nelson, until Roy broke free and unloaded his big right hand. Kongo just toppled and Nelson climbed the fence to rub his stomach in victory.
5: VS Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira UFN 39
I think we all knew how this one was going to go down, but it still made for a quick entertaining fight. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira is one of the greatest fighters of all time, but he's gotten very old and very hittable in his last couple fights. The years of abuse have caught up to him and that made the perfect match up for Nelson. Big Nog came out aggressive and was able to get back up after being knocked down twice, but his legs were visibly shaking at that point. Nelson connected with a third right hand and that was it. The win would have been much bigger a few years ago, but it still looks good on the resume.
4: VS Brendan Schaub TUF 10 Finale
Nelson defeated Kimbo Slice, Justin Wren, and James McSweeney to reach the finals of TUF. There he took on fellow Team Evans member Brendan Schaub. Schaub was 4-0 at this point and finished all of his opponents on his way to the finals. Schaub came out to an early lead striking, but Nelson scored a takedown to even things out. They eventually stood back up and then Nelson connected with a right hand to Schaub's temple knocking him down. Nelson followed up with one more for good measure as he won TUF and his first Knockout of the Night award.
3: VS Kimbo Slice TUF 10
I usually don't include fights from TUF since they're technically exhibitions, bit this was an important fight for his career and the history of the show. Nelson made his way into the UFC by competing on the heavyweights season of TUF back in 2009. He was Rashad Evans' fifth pick and he took on Rampage's first pick, Kimbo Slice on the third episode of the season. Slice became famous as the star of EliteXC, but the company collapsed once he lost to Seth Petruzelli. The fight drew 6 million viewers and had a 3.7 rating. Nelson won the fight as he had Slice pinned down in the crucifix position and he just unloaded on him with punches until the ref stopped it. I'll always remember this fight cause I had just started dating a girl that was a big Kimbo Slice fan for some reason and I was rooting for Nelson cause I saw him fight in the IFL. Of course I was obnoxious after the win and things didn't go too well afterwards.
2: VS Fabricio Werdum UFC 143
This brutal battle won Fight of the Night honors at UFC 143. This was Werdum's return fight to the UFC as he had been fighting in Strikeforce since he was cut after losing to Dos Santos at UFC 90. Werdum went 3-1 in Strikeforce and became the first person to truly beat Fedor. Nelson had just defeated Mirko Cro Cop in his last fight. Werdum's Muay Thai strikes probably would have knocked out any other heavyweight in this fight, but Nelson just kept coming. Nelson got busted open in the first round but he was able to battle back and get in some good punches that really hurt Werdum. This was just a complete slugfest as both fighters just kept throwing shots at each other for fifteen minutes. They were both exhausted at the end of the fight as Werdum would win by unanimous decision.
1: VS Mirko Cro Cop UFC 137
I enjoyed Mirko Cro Cop's second run with the UFC. He was no longer an elite fighter, but most of his fights were good and he had moments where he looked like the Cro Cop of old. This was his last fight in the UFC and he threw everything he had at Roy Nelson. Nelson was coming off his first two losses in the UFC and needed a win over the former star to stay relevant in the heavyweight division. The first two rounds were great as they threw heavy shots at each other. Cro Cop hurt him real bad in the second and most other fighters would have been knocked out, but Nelson with his great chin survived and took the fight to the ground where he battered him in the crucifix position. Cro Cop made it to the third round, but he was out of gas at that point and Nelson finished him off by TKO on the ground. Flipovic wasn't the fighter he once was, but it was still a great fight.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
• Next week will be Michael Bisping's best fights.