A heavyweight tilt scheduled for five rounds between KO artist Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson, and mixed martial arts legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, headlined the UFC’s 39th Fight Night card earlier today inside of Abu Dhabi’s du Arena. The two 37-year-old fighters would look to put themselves back into the title talks after an unimpressive 2013 campaign, respectively.
We all knew heading into this fight that Big Nog would need to get this fight to the ground in order to have any success. Nelson is nearly impossible to KO and he certainly has the power advantage with that right hand of doom at his disposal. The blueprint to beat Nelson can be carried out by quicker heavyweights with precision striking. Having a great clinch game doesn’t hurt either. The Junior dos Santos’, Stipe Miocic’s, and Fabricio Werdum’s of the world would likely beat Roy 8 or 9 times out of 10. Big Nog just looked a bit too old and five steps to slow to establish any rhythm in his striking tonight.
Once Nelson touched Nogueira it appeared that we would be in for a short night. Surprisingly, Nelson would back off the former PRIDE heavyweight champ after stunning him early, likely in an effort to keep his tank near full should the fight enter deep waters. After stunning him a second time with that patented overhand right, Nog’s hands would drop and you got the sense that the big finish was mere moments a way. Then just like that, Nelson would plant his back foot, grit his teeth and uncork that homerun shot we’ve seen so many times before; Nogueira would go out stiff as a board.
Check out the highlight and post fight interview with his former training partner Dan Hardy below.
cover image credit – UFC