LAS VEGAS -- Dutch muay Thai trainer Marco Van Den Broek spent the last three months working to sharpen and refine Roy Nelson’s stand-up skills, and their partnership paid immediate dividends.
Nelson put away the previously undefeated Brendan Schaub with a ringing right hand behind the ear in “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale main event on Saturday at the Palms Casino Resort. With one thudding blow, the 33-year-old former International Fight League champion announced his arrival in the sport’s marquee promotion.
“Now everybody knows who Roy Nelson is,” said Nelson, who was awarded a $25,000 bonus for “Knockout of the Night.”
Van Den Broek could not help but crack a smile, as the final right hand punctuated a well-timed three-punch combination.
“I was so happy,” he said. “We worked a lot on throwing combinations instead of single punches. We worked on that the whole time.”
Contrary to popular belief, Van Den Broek sees Nelson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie, as a willing student.
“He is coachable,” he said. “A lot of people think that he’s not coachable. He wants to talk about things, and I like that, and I want to show him why you have to do it a certain way.”
Van Den Broek, who also trains “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah, met Nelson by chance at Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts in Las Vegas when he struck up a conversation with the pudgy heavyweight’s wife. Nelson happened to be in search of a coach who could add dimension and variety to his stand-up attack.
“She pointed him out,” Van Den Broek said. “I asked, ‘The guy with the belly? The fat guy?’ I asked Amir Sadollah about him, and he said, ‘Yeah, he’s good. He’s fought [Andrei] Arlovski and [Jeff] Monson,’ so I looked him up. That’s actually how it started.”