Roy “Big Country” Nelson” is not your average MMA fighter. He is an extraordinarily fat heavyweight that does not look the least bit athletic, yet he comes always fully prepared to fight, has a chin that can take a ton of punishment, has knock out power in both hands, can go three full rounds without seeming to get tired, has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and has years and years of experience in the sport. He was a former champion in a different organization and, after winning the tenth seasonof The Ultimate Fighter, is now steadily climbing the ranks of the UFC heavyweight division.
I previously wrote that Big Country seemed slimmer in his fight against Stefan Struve than he did in The Ultimate Fighter, and I believed that I would see similar progress in his preparation against Dos Santos. This was not the case. Though Nelson thoroughly prepared for this matchup, his belly did not make it obvious.
Junior “Ciganto” Dos Santos, on the other hand, is a young man in the sport of MMA, but has quickly shot up the ranks of the UFC heavyweight ladder, defeating all of his opponents in a very particular decisive manner: namely, a fierce knockout. If he does the same against Roy “Big Country” Nelson, then he will get a title shot against the winner of the Lesnar – Velasquez fight at UFC 121 in October.
The fight proved rather interesting in that a lot of it was highly unpredictable:
- Both fighters, who have knockout power in either hand, clearly landed clean shots to his opponent several times throughout the fight, yet could not finish.
- Roy Nelson lasted the entire three rounds without seeming to get tired.
- Junior Dos Santos seemed to slow down from the beginning of the second round onward. Was he simply pacing himself or did he gas himself out trying to knock out Nelson in the first?
- Roy Nelson kept up a defensive position for much of the second and third rounds, but kept moving forward, absorbing a ton of heavy shots from his opponent. He never appeared to slow down, and never gave up when he was hurt.
Dos Santos got the unanimous decision victory, but the spotlight was clearly on Roy Nelson. He absorbed for three whole rounds what seemed like a hundred shots from the knockout machine known as Ciganto, something none of Dos Santos’ opponents were capable of withstanding, including the likes of Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Dos Santos gets the title shot and it will be very exciting indeed to see him fight either Brock Lesnar or Cain Velasquez early next year for the title. One criticism about him from UFC color commentator Joe Rogan was that Dos Santos might have been able to finish Nelson if he mixed up his striking more. He seemed to get more and more one-dimensional as the fight went on. Perhaps it was a sign of fatigue, but it still highlights his relative lack of inexperience in MMA. He has more than enough time to fill in the gaps in his game, though, and I’m sure that he’ll come more than fully prepared the next time around as he always does.
Check out the rest of my UFC 117 reviews and drop on over the official UFC website for more amazing photos of the event!