Nelson certainly has one, training under the legendary Renzo Gracie, but deep down the former Ultimate Fighter winner not only has a concrete jaw, he’s got bricks in his hands.
He showed that once again with his first round knockout of Matt Mitrione at the Ultimate Fighter 16 finale show.
Taking the fight on short notice, Mitrione returned to action after more than a year off, and looked to show his improved skill set since working with the team at the Blackzilians in Florida. Mitrione definitely developed a love of kicks because he launched them early and often, aiming for Nelson’s head and body.
Nelson wasn’t backing away and outside of an early clinch where he looked for the trip takedown, it was all about the stand-up in this fight.
Mitrione looked for more precise shots, but Nelson was just trying to find his range to unload the bombs he needed to put the fight away. It didn’t take him long to find it.
Nelson cracked Mitrione with a big uppercut that rattled the former Purdue football player, and he quickly followed it up with another shot that dropped him to the canvas.
Following his opponent to the ground, Nelson opened up with a barrage of strikes as Mitrione could only roll over and wait for the fight to stop. Nelson gets another first round knockout, the fourth of his UFC career.
After the victory, Nelson disclosed that he actually didn’t start really training his striking game until 2009, although he did have several knockouts on his MMA record prior to that time. What was once a “grapple first” mentality has now shifted to his love of the knockout.
“I used to submit everybody like when I first started, but when I got my first knockout I was like this is so much easier than this wrestling and jiu-jitsu stuff,” Nelson said after the fight.
While his tendency in the UFC has been to finish opponents early, Nelson says he was actually looking to take Mitrione into deeper waters considering the bout was scheduled for five round. Obviously that didn’t happen, but Nelson is surely glad with the result.
“I was looking to pick him apart, and do it in the later rounds, 2nd and 3rd, and show all the critics that the fat boy can go five rounds,” Nelson joked.
It’s safe to say Nelson’s time on the Ultimate Fighter was anything but a joy ride, and the last 12 weeks of time watching the reality show unfold didn’t seem to be much more pleasant. On top of that, Nelson then had to miss out on the chance to fight fellow coach Shane Carwin when he suffered a knee injury just weeks away from their bout.
The end result was still in his favor and that cushions the blow for any of the other bad things that happened, and now Roy Nelson can celebrate another big knockout.
Even at 36-years of age, Nelson says he’s just getting started like some pretty famous fighters before him.
“I feel like I’m Randy (Couture) and Chuck (Liddell),” said Nelson. “I’m just starting.”