Can being a big loser make Roy Nelson a big winner?

nullIf anything was clear from UFC 130 on Saturday night it was that Roy Nelson can’t compete at a high level in his current physical state.

Nelson looked like he might actually pass out after 15 minutes of effortless action against Frank Mir in a decision loss to the former UFC heavyweight champ.

UFC President wasn’t too impressed by Nelson’s lack of cardio and may have put “Big Country” in his dog house.

Knowing an opportunity might be abound, noted MMA nutritionist, Mike Dolce, told MMAWeekly.com that he would like to help Nelson slim down.

“In my honest and humble opinion, I believe I could help Roy Nelson unlock his full potential as an athlete, as a fighter, but also in health potential as a human being. I used to be 280 pounds, so at five-foot-nine I walked around 20 pounds heavier than Roy weighed in at the UFC, and now I’m 188 pounds this morning at six percent body fat,” Dolce told MMAWeekly.com on Sunday.

“I can get him down easily if he wants to be a chiseled heavyweight. I can certainly do that. If he wants to be a light heavyweight I can do that. I could probably get him down to middleweight depending on what his goals are. I could do it the most healthy way possible, extend his life, extend his vitality, all of those things. But in the short term take every possible advantage to get the utmost of his ability.”

It is pretty clear that Nelson could lose a good 35-50 pounds, which would allow him to fight at light heavyweight, if he desired.

Nelson has great striking and grappling skills, so losing the weight could really turn his career around and allow him to live up to the potential that many see in him.

Future Fight Watch: Jones Favored Over Rampage

nullIf healthy, it is believed that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will face Jon “Bones” Jones for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship later in 2011.

Already, odds have been released for this could-be contest, thanks to BetOnFighting.com.

According to the oddsmakers, the champion is favored with a money line of -315 while Jackson, the challenger, comes in with a money line of +255.

Jackson vs. Jones would be an interesting matchup as Jones hasn’t faced a fighter with the single-punch power that Jackson has and Rampage has struggled with diverse grapplers like Jones.

Jones was able to easily navigate Maurcio “Shogun” Rua, but Jackson is a fighter that will not be as tentative as Shogun was in his battle with Jones.

Jackson showed very impressive takedown defense against Matt Hamill at UFC 130 on Saturday, but the takedown attempts that Jones will have will be much more explosive and harder to stop.

The big question for this fight is we have yet to see Jones truly take a big punch and really fight through adversity. One would think Rampage could present that moment at some point in the fight.

If Jones vs. Rashad Evans can’t happen anytime soon, I think someone like Rampage could be a very interesting test for the young phenom, Jones.

A few thoughts from UFC 130

nullWell, UFC 130 is in the books.

The PPV was a little uneventful but still had plenty of intriguing storylines emerge. Here are some thoughts I took away from Saturday’s event.

- Rampage had a solid performance despite what the fans thought – The main event might have had a number of boos surround it, but I thought that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson had a solid performance against Matt Hamill. You have to consider a few things. First, Rampage had a fractured hand coming into the bout and still peppered Hamill with some big punches that didn’t manage to send him down. Second, Rampage stuffed each and every takedown attempt Hamill had with ease. To me, Rampage looked about as good as I have ever seen him and I think a healthy Rampage that shows that kind of takedown defense could pose a real threat to Jon Jones, if he is indeed the next in line for a title fight.

- Roy Nelson really needs to do something with himself – In the co-main event, Frank Mir had little difficulty winning a decision over Roy Nelson. Mir simply had to survive the opening five minutes and then Nelson could barely breathe for the final two rounds. Nelson has the talent to be a real impressive fighter. He has the ground skills and the punching power to contend with anyone, but his lack of conditioning and his desire to stick with his obese physique is hampering his career. I would like to see Nelson commit to losing weight and see where that takes him. Maybe he fights as a smaller heavyweight, or maybe he can even cut down to light heavyweight. The window for him to succeed is closing, and the blueprint for beating him is out there. It is only a matter of time before his UFC run ends because he fails to commit to change.

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UFC 130 Results & Recap

nullUFC 130 took place on Saturday night with a card that lacked a marquee fight, but provided plenty of entertainment.

- In the main event, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8) def. Matt Hamill (10-3) by unanimous decision in a light heavyweight contest. Hamill came into the fight expecting to be able to score takedowns, but Jackson showed impressive defense by stuffing every shot Hamill had. Jackson landed some big punches and knees, but never could do enough to put Hamill down. Jackson’s defense and superior striking were enough to earn him a unanimous decision after 15 minutes of fighting.

- Frank Mir (15-5) made his case to still be considered a top 5 heavyweight with a decision win over Roy Nelson (15-6). Neither fighter was that impressive, but Mir showed more conditioning and better grappling against a fatigued Nelson. Joe Rogan often pointed out how Nelson’s fat shape is affecting his MMA career. Will “Big Country” make any changes, or will he stick with his gimmick?

- Travis Browne (11-0-1) made a big statement in the heavyweight division with his brutal KO of Stefan Struve (21-5) in the first round. The two traded heavy kicks early in the bout but Struve attempted a kick late in the first round and Browne land a big straight punch that sent Struve crashing. Browne added two hammer fists, but Struve was already out. The fight ended at 4:11 of the first round.

- Rick Story (13-3) showed that he is a legit title contender in the welterweight division by beating Thiago Alves (18-8) by unanimous decision. Story was able to get Alves to the ground often in the opening two rounds and then took a number of big punches in the third round but was never knocked to the ground. Story did enough to win the bout 29-28 on all three scorecards.

-“The All American” Brian Stann (11-3) picked up another big KO victory, as he disposed of Jorge Santiago (23-9) in the second round of their middleweight contest. Stann flattened Santiago with a big left hook in the first round and then continued to land big shots before closing out the fight in the second round with another big punch and a furious follow up. The fight concluded at 4:29 in the second round. Stann is now 3-0 since moving down to the middleweight division.

Check out the quick results after the jump.

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UFC 130 Picks & Predictions

nullI have been breaking down UFC 130 all week with my takes on each contest.

Here are my full picks for the five bouts on the main card for Saturday night’s event, which airs live on PPV at 9PM ET. Check back tonight for complete results from the show.

UFC Light Heavyweight Bout – Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (31-8) vs. Matt Hamill (10-2) – I think this will be a very tough fight for Jackson if Hamill is in the right mindset. Hamill has the ability to get Jackson on his back, and that has been Jackson’s weakness as of late. Still, I think Hamill will get caught up in the moment of his first PPV main event and show Jackson too much respect, which will allow Rampage to win by decision by being the more aggressive fighter.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Frank Mir (14-5) vs. Roy Nelson (15-5) – This should be a good scrap, but Mir’s desire to trade strikes in recent bouts will be his downfall tonight. I see Nelson getting an opportunity to land a clean punch, and that will lead to the end of the fight. Look for it in the second round.

UFC Middleweight Bout – Brian Stann (10-3) vs. Jorge Santiago (23-8) – In this clash of strikers, I see Stann coming out on top. He has crisper boxing and is the stronger fighter. Santiago has the ability to land a big kick or a big knee, but I see him trying for something flashy and leaving himself open to a big counter punch from Stann that will lead to a second round TKO.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Thiago Alves (18-7) vs. Rick Story (12-3) – There should be some fireworks here as Story will bring the fight to Alves. Story has the right style to pull off the upset, but I think he lacks that explosion in his takedowns to really get Alves on his back. I see “The Pitbull” using his punches and kicks to slowly tire Story before getting a TKO finish in the third round.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Travis Browne (10-0-1) vs. Stefan Struve (21-4) – This is a classic grappler vs. striker contest and I see the striker winning. Struve has struggled with powerful strikers in the past and I look for Browne to come out quickly and win by first round TKO.

UFC 130 Preview: Travis Browne vs. Stefan Struve

nullIn a recent article, I called Travis Browne the dark horse in the UFC heavyweight division.

On Saturday, at UFC 130, we will see if that was correct, or if I cursed him forever as the unbeaten heavyweight collides with Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve on the main card.

Here is a look at both fighters heading into this contest.

Travis Browne (10-0-1) – Browne is a big powerful striker that has eight of his 10 victories by knockout, with five of those coming in under 60 seconds. Browne mixes up punches and kicks and he has been taken to deep waters in recent fights. He is coming off a draw with Cheick Kongo, which was a disappointment for him, but he still was able to put forth a good effort against a veteran fighter in just his second UFC bout. Browne hasn’t been tested on the ground by a real submission fighter like Struve, but Struve has struggled against powerful strikers like Browne.

Stefan Struve (21-4) – Struve stands 6-foot-11 and has very long legs with a good reach. His striking isn’t awful, but it’s not at the level of fighters like Browne. Due to his size, Struve doesn’t have a lot of explosion for takedowns, and that is ultimately where he would like the fight to be. Struve is very solid on the ground with his submissions, especially on his back where he can work in some very tight triangle chokes. The key to this fight will be for Struve to take things to the ground when the opportunity arises and out-class Browne with his jiu-jitsu.

Who Will Win: Struve struggled with the likes of Roy Nelson and Junior dos Santos, losing to both early in the first round by KO. I see a similar end in this contest. Browne is very solid with his strikes and I see him catching Struve early and finishing the fight with a KO in the first round.

UFC 130 Weigh-In Results: All fighters make weight

nullAll 20 competitors that will be taking part in Saturday’s UFC 130 successfully weighed in on Friday.

Main-event light heavyweights Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Matt Hamill both hit the 205-pound limit on the dot and then had an intense stare down to hype up the live crowd. Jackson is likely fighting for a title shot against Jon Jones with a win while Hamill is seeking the biggest win in his pro career.

In the co-main event, heavyweights Frank Mir and Roy Nelson came in at 260 pounds. Nelson adorned some lovely pigtails with pink ribbons while Mir looked to be all business.

Thiago Alves, who has had a history of missing weight, looked healthy in his 170-pound weigh-in. He will face off with Rick Story, who also weighed in at 170 pounds. Alves is looking to get back into the UFC welterweight title picture while Story is seeking the biggest win in his young career.

Check out the rest of the UFC 130 weigh-in results after the jump.

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UFC 130 Preview: Thiago Alves vs. Rick Story

nullWill it be a “Story”-book ending for Rick Story on Saturday night?

Alright, that is lame, but how can you not incorporate that into the biggest fight of Rick Story’s career? At UFC 130, we will see just how legit Story is when he takes on former No. 1 contender in the UFC welterweight division, Thiago Alves.

Here is a look at both fighters heading into the contest.

Thiago Alves (18-7) – Alves is trying to get himself back into the title picture as back-to-back decision losses to Georges St. Pierre and Jon Fitch set him back. Alves has since picked up an impressive win over John Howard and with the work of weight-cutting master, Mike Dolce, he seems to be a newly energized fighter. Alves has some of the best striking in the division as his leg kicks are considered to be among the most powerful in all of MMA. Alves is a very explosive and quick fighter and he can take a punch too. Where “The Pitbull” has struggled in recent fights is with his takedown defense. Fitch and GSP were able to get Alves to the ground with relative ease and Story will be looking to do the same thing on Saturday.

Rick Story (12-3) – This 26-year-old is on a tear, winning his last five fights in the Octagon, including wins over Brian Foster and Johny Hendricks. Story is a scrapper that just likes to push the pace no matter where the fight goes. He doesn’t let his opponents get time to think and forces them to have to make bad decisions, which opens the door for him to exploit a weakness. This will be the toughest test in Story’s career and be on the biggest stage, so nerves could be a factor for him. We haven’t seen Story face someone with the kicks that Alves has either, so it will be interesting to see how Story deals with the pain of those kicks as they come. Story can’t afford to be too cautious and let Alves get planted to throw his big strikes.

Who Will Win: This could be a bad matchup for Alves because of Story’s grappling ability, but I think Story lacks the explosiveness that St. Pierre and Fitch have with their takedowns. If the fight stays standing, which I think it will, I look for Alves to eventually land a big strike and finish off the up-and-coming fighter.

UFC 130 Preview: Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago

nullSomething has to give.

Brian Stann and Jorge Santiago are both on the rise in the middleweight division. But, at UFC 130, one fighter will continue to make the climb up the ladder, while the other will fall back.

Here is a look at both fighters heading into this key contest for Saturday’s PPV.

Brian Stann (10-3) – Not much was known or expected of Brian Stann when it was announced that he was moving from light heavyweight to middleweight after a loss to Phil Davis at UFC 109. But, Stann has won his first two bouts at 185 pounds, both by finish. He really broke onto the scene with his first round KO of Chris Leben at UFC 125 and is now being considered a legitimate threat in the division. Stann has big power in his hands and is under rated on the ground. As a former member of the Naval Academy and Marine Corps, Stann is a fighter that won’t panic, as he has faced much greater danger in his life than being inside the octagon. Stann is still developing his style in MMA and has not really faced a fighter with the muay thai ability that Santiago has. Stann’s grappling and clinch game will be very important in this contest if he hopes to win.

Jorge Santiago (23-8) – Santiago had a stint in the UFC back in 2006, but he went 1-2 with losses to Leben and Alan Belcher, both by KO. Since that time he has went 11-0 with five knockouts and five submissions. Santiago is slick on the ground as he is a great jiu-jitsu fighter, but he also has a lot of power with his hands, knees, and kicks. Santiago likes to throw some crazy knees and has the ability to be very explosive. Where Santiago will have to be careful is to not sit in the pocket and trade punches with Stann. It is things like that that caused him to go 1-2 in the UFC before. Santiago will also have to keep Stann from putting his weight on him and slowing him down.

Who Will Win: I like Stann in this fight. Santiago is a skilled and exciting fighter, but I like the poise and focus that Stann has. I look for Stann to weather an early storm from Santiago before hitting a big right hand in the second round that will lead to a TKO finish for the “All American”.

UFC 130 Preview: Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson

nullThe co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 130 is a heavyweight clash between top contenders Frank Mir and Roy Nelson.

Both men need a win to stay among the elite in the division. A loss will send either fighter back down the ladder with a lengthy climb to earn a title shot.

Here is a look at what each fighter brings to the octagon for this bout:

Frank Mir (14-5) – Mir is a former champion in the UFC and he started as a submission expert that was able to quickly finish guys with some very complex submissions. As Mir has evolved with the times, his striking has improved greatly and he has picked up a series of knockout victories over recent years. Mir’s struggles come with over-powering strikers like Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin. He was unable to get those fighters to the ground and couldn’t deal with their power in terms of striking.

Roy Nelson (15-5) – Nelson is a large man but he is deceptively strong and a solid grappler. Though built more like Homer Simpson, Nelson is a very experienced grappler and a black belt in jiu-jitsu. He actually defeated Mir in a grappling match a few years back. I feel like Nelson has more punching power than Mir and should have the edge on his feet, but his conditioning could be a factor as Mir is in better shape. Mir also has the experience on the ground in the UFC that Nelson still doesn’t quite have, and that could also be a factor.

Who Will Win: This fight should be close and really is a coin toss. Mir has the experience, but I think this is a bad matchup for him. He has gotten more and more confident in his striking and gone away from the style that made him one of the best. If he tries to trade blows with Nelson, it is going to be a bad night for Mir. I look for Nelson to find a way to earn the TKO during this bout.