Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) last night (Dec. 15, 2012) kicked off its second of two events over the weekend, this one taking place in organization's home base of Las Vegas, Nevada.
The card exceeded all expectations as nine of the 11 fights ended in a jaw-dropping knockout or slick submission.
Six of the seven preliminary bouts were finished inside the distance and the main card picked up where the "Prelims" left off.
The headlining bout in "Sin CIty" was short and sweet with the two heavyweights attacking each other on the feet until Mitrione went down.
"Meathead's" striking was sharp while the fight lasted, particularly the hard kicks from the outside that immediately bruised up Nelson's arms. The turning point came when Mitrione spit out his mouthpiece after an exchange and Nelson began finding his range on the former NFL player.
Once "Big Country" started to connect, it was just a matter of time until the knockout blow.
Nelson hit Mitrione with a thunderous right uppercut that dropped the Team Blackzilians product to the ground. Mitrione -- clearly hurt -- curled up in a ball, giving referee Herb Dean no choice but to stop the fight.
Nelson may be one of mixed martial arts' (MMA) true "love him or hate him" characters, but his skills and finishing ability cannot be denied. Last night Nelson proved once again he possesses some of the heaviest hands in the heavyweight division.
Smith outworked his opponent from bell-to-bell, neutralizing Ricci with his far superior wrestling abilities. The Canadian had no answer for Smith's control, and nearly the entire fight took place on the ground with Smith on Ricci's back working for chokes.
The fight wasn't without drama, though, as in the final minute of the third round Ricci reversed position and attempted to submit his foe; however, he failed to finish and Smith retook control.
It wasn't the most impressive TUF finale win in history, but Smith did what he had to do to pull off the upset win and subsequently earned himself a six-figure contract with the UFC.
While Smith is being criticized as a boring fighter after his win over Ricci, it must be noted that last night was only his fifth professional fight and at 25 years of age, he has a long future in the sport to develop.
Pat Barry delivered the goods once again by coming back from a first round scare to knock Shane Del Rosario out cold in the second round of their heavyweight bout, winning $40,000 for "Knockout of the Night" in the process.
The opening frame began with Del Rosario pressing Barry against the cage until he eventually scored a takedown. From there, it looked like it was going to be another submission loss for "HD," as Del Rosario strung together several submission attempts but could never secure the finish.
When the second round began, it was clear Barry was the fresher of the two fighters. Del Rosario stood in front of him with minimal defense, which is a recipe for disaster against a striker of Barry's caliber. Barry landed an overhand left that hurt Del Rosario badly and followed up with a colossal right hook that sent him crashing to the mat, slumped against the cage.
Barry deserves props for his performance last night. He showed improvements to his biggest weakness (submission defense) and overcame adversity for a come-from-behind win.
Barry got flack for a lack of killer instinct after his fight against Cheick Kongo in July 2011, but with knockout wins in two of his last three fights, the haters are silenced.
There's not much to say about Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner, mainly because the fight did not take place.
As you likely know by now, Varner was throwing up backstage and was pulled from the card by doctors just hours before his fight with Guillard was scheduled to take place.
Varner's illness left "The Young Assassin" without an opponent, and therefor he was unable to compete.
Both men were given the "show" money portion of their contracts by UFC and it appears the bout has been rescheduled for UFC 155 on Dec. 29, 2012.
Brookins surprised Poirier early with his improved striking arsenal and even appeared to hurt "The Diamond" at one point. Poirier remained composed, though, and eventually started to put his combinations together and swing the momentum to his side.
A little after the four-minute mark of the first round, Poirier hurt Brookins, which forced TUF season 12 winner to go for a takedown. Brookins' takedown attempt was a fight-ending mistake as he put himself in perfect position for Poirier to lock in his favorite submission, the D'Arce choke.
As soon as Poirier locked in the submission he had Brookins tapping.
After a tough loss to Chan Sung Jung last May, Poirier rebounded and showed he is still one of the best at 145 pounds and at just 23 years old, the youngster has a promising future ahead of him.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss TUF 16 Finale: "Nelson vs. Mitrione" in the comments section below. Did the fights go as you expected? Whose knockout impressed you the most?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete TUF 16 Finale blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Nelson vs. Mitrione" event right here.