Roy Nelson isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing fighter in the world, but he proved throughout the Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights season that he has what it takes to win the series and move into the main UFC roster.
Nelson, the odds-on favorite to win the show from the moment his name was announced, used the familiar little-brother crucifix in beating James McSweeney to advance to the finals. He’ll face Brendan Schaub, who overcame an early assault from the scary Marcus Jones to earn a TKO victory and a spot across the cage from Nelson on Saturday night.
Schaub has all the athletic ability and power that Nelson doesn’t have, but it probably won’t be enough for the former NFL-er to overcome the well-rounded game that “Big Country” will bring to the cage.
Also officially announced for the Finale card: Marcus Jones takes on Matt Mitrione, the man he threatened to kill on the season finale episode. Jones took extreme umbrage with Mitrione’s accidental injury of Scott Junk’s eye and went ballistic in the face of the confused Mitrione. It was later revealed that Junk’s injury wasn’t as serious as originally believed and that he’ll be able to fight again, but the Jones confrontation with the baffled Mitrione was one of the more intense moments of the season and there’s still plenty of anticipation for a bout between the two.
Jones has a scary ground game for a fighter of his size and lack of experience. A blue belt during the TUF tapings, he earned his purple belt after the filming concluded. Mitrione is certainly the more well-rounded fighter and will test the suspect chin of Jones, but the bout favors “The Darkness” if it goes to the ground.
The worst-kept secret in the world was also confirmed, as Kimbo Slice will take on Houston Alexander. Billed as “the stand up battle you’ve been waiting to see,” the bout should deliver plenty of action for however long it lasts. Alexander was paired with Slice because he has no ground game, giving the UFC’s new golden boy a fair chance to win the fight.
This is basically a pick-em fight. As noted, neither man has a ground game, and unless either man has advanced rapidly on the ground in recent months we’re going to be looking at a wild boxing match that will probably end quickly.
The main event features Matt Hamill taking on uber-prospect Jon Jones in a bout designed to showcase what Jones can do in the cage. Hamill has an inspirational story, but his straight-forward and plodding style won’t do him any favors against one of the most exciting and unpredictable young fighters in the light heavyweight division. Barring a lack of takedown defense, Jones should be able to win this fight by unanimous decision if he doesn’t finish it.