After knocking out Matt Mitrione in the main event of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 finale, Roy Nelson seems unconcerned with whether he will ever settle his business with Shane Carwin.
Nelson, 36, was supposed to meet the former UFC interim heavyweight champion in January 2011, but that bout was scrapped when Carwin withdrew due to a back injury. Nearly two years later, the men were cast opposite each other as coaches on “TUF 16” with the expectation that they would collide at tonight’s live season finale. This time, a Carwin knee injury prevented a meeting with “Big Country.”
As a result, Nelson (Pictured, file photo) met former “TUF 10” castmate Matt Mitrione on Saturday night, knocking the “Meathead” stiff in the first round of their headlining showdown at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The night was doubly sweet for Nelson, who saw his “TUF 16” protege Colton Smith dominate Team Carwin’s Mike Ricci to become the latest winner of the long-running reality series.
“I’m focusing on somebody else besides Shane,” Nelson told Fox Sports after his victory. “I’ve already been down that road twice, and we already know who was the best coach, because my guy won.”
Though he would soon end Mitrione’s night, Nelson looked a step slow during bout’s opening moments, as Mitrione peppered him with punches and kicks from various angles while the ex-IFL champion struggled to find his range.
Roughly 90 seconds into the bout, Nelson closed the distance to look for a takedown. Though Mitrione successfully resisted the attempt, Nelson says that had the bout gone longer, his opponent would have been assaulted with more of the same.
“I was actually planning on using [my jiu-jitsu] today in the second round to tire him out and then press it,” said Nelson. “I wanted to try to use all five rounds.”
Instead, Nelson managed to draw the southpaw into a firefight, knocking out Mitrione’s mouthpiece in the process. As “Meathead” stopped using his previously effective footwork to dart in and out of Nelson’s punching range, he suddenly found himself standing in the pocket and trading shots with the hard-hitting “Big Country.”
Nelson took advantage, ending Mitrione’s night with a devastating right uppercut-left hook combination that sent the Roufusport rep stumbling to the canvas, where Nelson finished the job with ground-and-pound at 2:58.
“I was a little surprised that he stood in front of me. It’s the first time I actually threw a combo,” said Nelson. “That’s why I can’t wait to fight Junior dos Santos or Cain Velasquez or somebody [comparable], because I’ve learned this combo thing, now.