By Thomas Gerbasi
LAS VEGAS, December 5 – Roy Nelson came into the Octagon at The Pearl at The Palms Saturday night to the strains of Weird Al Yankovic’s “I’m Fat,” but behind his physique and self-effacing humor lies a real fighter, and ‘Big Country’ proved it with a devastating first round knockout of previously unbeaten Brendan Schaub that earned Nelson The Ultimate Fighter season ten title.
“I’m feeling pretty good, a little tired,” smiled the 6-0, 263 pound Nelson, a former heavyweight champion of the now defunct IFL organization who ended his reality show run with a UFC contract.
And surprisingly, he didn’t do it with the ground game that led him to victory in his three fights on the Spike TV show; he did it with a standup attack that caught the former Golden Gloves champion by surprise.
Schaub’s striking was working beautifully in the opening stages of the fight as he drove Nelson back against the fence. Nelson shook off the shots, got off a wide hook and then was able to get Schaub to the canvas, where he quickly took his trademark side control position. Surprisingly, Schaub found his way free and resumed his striking attack, but the Colorado fighter’s defense was porous, and that was a sign of things to come, as Nelson took Schaub’s punches and kept moving forward, eventually landing with a flush right hand to the temple that sent Schaub down hard to the canvas. A follow up shot finished things off, with referee Herb Dean calling the bout off at the 3:45 mark.
“I’m ready to step in with whatever heavyweights we have,” said Nelson.
With the win, Nelson improves to 15-4; Schaub falls to 5-1.