Roy “Big Country” Nelson (17-7-0) vs. Matt “Meathead” Mitrione (5-1-0)
Both men had gained entrance into the UFC through the highly watched TUF 10 season. Nelson was already well known in the sport before the show for his IFL reign, while Mitrione was known for his NFL career. No one thought Mitrione would accomplish what he has in the sport, based on his antics on the reality program, as he seemed unwilling to fight at points. For Nelson, there was never a thought of if he could be successful, but more of how successful he would be. Always one to go against the grain, he has slowly dropped the weight that many thought has kept him from being a top heavyweight.
Nelson is only 4-3 since entering the UFC, but all of his losses come to top five fighters in Junior Dos Santos, Frank Mir, and Fabricio Werdum. All of his wins have been finishes by way of TKO. With that type of record it is hard to imagine that Nelson actually has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. That is probably where a win comes the easiest for Nelson in this fight. With Mitrione only competing in MMA for about three years, he will be at a great disadvantage in a ground battle with a BJJ black belt.
The biggest factor in this fight for Mitrione is not having fought in a year. He had went 5-0 in the UFC until he stepped up in competition against Cheick kongo in October of 2011. He lost a decision, being out-struck. His best asset is his athleticism and ability to take a punch. That is two things he will need when facing Nelson. Mitrione will look to keep away from Nelson’s power and to circle around in hopes of tiring “Big Country.”
The Bottom Line:
The change of opponents will work to Mitrione’s benefit, as Nelson was expecting a power puncher in Shane Carwin. Look for Nelson to give Mitrione trouble in the first and second, but Mitrione will walk away with a decision by winning rounds three through five.