Roy Nelson has been striking for just a few years, but the skills he picked up in training paid off Saturday night, as “Big Country” floored Matt Mitrione with a nasty uppercut to earn a victory in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale.
Nelson told Joe Rogan inside the Octagon after the bout that he started striking in 2009, but is starting to prefer the method to his ground game.
“With me, I like to use my weaker stuff first in the fight, so I start with my striking,” said Nelson, on the post-fight show on Fuel TV. “If I can do that, I will before I use my better stuff.”
Nelson, a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter, said he was surprised Mitrione wanted to stand and trade with him, adding, “he wanted the fight, and I brought it to him.”
After seeing Shane Carwin pull out of their planned fight for a second time, Nelson appears to have moved on from facing the former interim UFC heavyweight champion. Carwin was forced out after suffering a knee injury in training.
“I’m focused on someone else now,” Nelson said. “Shane, I’ve gone down that road two times and don’t need to go down that again.”
Fuel TV analysts Benson Henderson and Chael Sonnen both pointed to a potential match with Antonio Silva for Nelson next, along with mentioning Mark Hunt if he beats Stefan Struve in early 2013.