Thursday, October 1, 2009

Roy Nelson by TKO (Smothering), Rd. 2

In a match-up that was hyped, discussed, and, very likely, watched by more people than any previous fight in T.U.F. history, Roy "Big Country" Nelson (13-4) introduced himself to mainstream MMA fans yesterday evening by soundly defeating Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (3-1).

Roy Nelson prevailed primarily by taking "Kimbo" down and proceeding to use his gargantuan belly to smother the beloved BBQ brawler. Then, after achieving the crucifix position, both at the end of the first round and the beginning of the second, Roy proceeded to arm-punch Ferguson repeatedly in the forehead with shots that, UFC president, Dana White compared to "strikes" thrown by a schoolgirl.

Not exactly a glowing performance review from your new boss.

What made it worse was the way Roy postured and gloated after he'd won. To see him beam and hear him go on about being "the King," you'd think he'd just unleashed a fearsome, Lesnar-esque, flurry ground-and-pound. Don't get me wrong, I don't fault Roy Nelson for having a lackluster performance. Certainly, there's nothing wrong with doing only enough to win. After all, The Ultimate Fighter is structured as a six-week tournament. As such, Nelson could argue that he simply wanted to get past "Slice" unscathed in order to stay healthy for the next round. That's fine, just don't act like you've somehow earned millions of fans for successfully taking down a mediocre grappler and (gasp!) holding him there.

For a guy with just four professional fights, "Kimbo Slice" had a decent performance against "Big Country." It was particularly impressive given that Roy is favored to win the show and is also the 21st best heavyweight in all of MMA, according to the USA Today aggregate poll. "Kimbo" demonstrated considerable grappling improvement by successfully defending Roy's first take down attempt and nearly sweeping "Big Country" near the end of the first round. Though it came as no real surprise, "Slice" also impressed by outclassing Nelson in the striking department.

Word is that "Kimbo" is currently training with American Top Team (ATT) in Coconut Creek, Florida. That's one of the world's premier MMA camps and home to numerous top-tier fighters, such as Thiago Alves, Thiago Silva and Todd Duffee. ATT is also renowned for the intensity of its daily workouts and the quality of its grapplers. So, if any assemblage of fighters and trainers can whip "Kimbo" into shape, it's probably the group at ATT. We won't have to wait long to see the results, either. It has already been announced that Kimbo will be fighting at the T.U.F. 10 Finale on December 7th, so we'll see then if his time in Coconut Creek has helped him round out his game. "Kimbo" will likely be matched up with one of this season's other thirteen cast-offs, probably a fellow striker.

However, at the end of last night's episode, the UFC also teased that an injury to, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round pick, Marcus Jones may result in "Slice" re-entering the tournament. We're meant, I suppose, to believe there's still a chance that "Kimbo" might win it all. I wouldn't hold my breath for that, though. More likely, the UFC is merely attempting to convince "Kimbo's" massive fan base to tune in to T.U.F. 10 for just one more week.

More Links:

"Kimbo": Wants A Rematch

Nelson: Is Pretty Pleased With Himself &
Compares Himself To Babe Ruth (Extensive Interview)

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