The co-main event of UFC 130 was an action-packed barn-burner.
At least, for the first round.
Heavyweights Roy Nelson and Frank Mir both ran out of gas quickly and failed to put on the show that many fans and analysts alike had anticipated between the two exciting finishers.
An exhausted "Big Country" appeared as if he'd keel over from a slight breeze by the end of the fight but Mir couldn't take advantage of his opponent's state because he was completely sapped as well.
We'll dig to the root of both men's problems (especially Nelson's) inside.
As soon as the fight started, Nelson shot in deep and pressed Mir against the fence. He seemed very intent on keeping Mir pushed against the cage, carrying his big belly. While it may have temporarily frustrated Mir early, the Sityodtong southpaw realized that Nelson was in prime position for some knees and he put "Big Country" in a Muay Thai clinch, hammering his portly pal with big knees to the head and body.
Nelson attempted a big flurry of strikes with about a minute left in the first round, but that was pretty much his last significant offensive output of the night. When "Big Country" gave the two-time heavyweight champion an opening in the clinch, Mir stepped forward and beautifully threw the beer-bellied brawler over his hip with a "harai goshi" Judo throw directly into mount.
The rest of the fight was hard to watch. An exhausted Nelson couldn't step forward with his strikes, resorting to short arm punches when Mir got in range. The ex-champ saw opportunities to put "Big Country" on his back and he took them, scoring takedown after takedown against his corpulent compatriot. Nelson's only contribution to the remainder of the bout was his ability to give up his back, turtle and get back to his feet every time he was put on the canvas.
When it was all said and done, Mir was awarded a unanimous decision with a clean sweep of every round across the boards.
For Roy Nelson, he's got to go back to square one. The belly was a funny gimmick, but he can't expect to be in the co-main event of a pay-per-view and sell fights after a performance like that. It was ugly and UFC president Dana White was not pleased. UFC commentator Joe Rogan repeatedly stated that Nelson should consider dropping down to 205 but that seems drastic. It would make more sense if "Big Country" would instead drop about 20 pounds. He's still have some, if not most of his infamous gut, but he'd have less weight to carry around and he's be lighter on his feet as well as more explosive.
Nelson is tough as nails, surviving three rounds with both Mir and Junior dos Santos, but he was crushed in both fights. Being hard to knock out isn't enough, ask Cabbage Correira. Roy really needs to reconsider whether he wants to be a hero to overweight Americans everywhere or he wants to be a contender. If he shows up pushing the 265 pound limit and puts on another spectacle like that again, he likely won't have a future in the UFC.
For Frank Mir, he's kind of stuck in limbo. He's good enough to defeat the Nogueiras, Cro Cops and Kongos of the world, but he gets blasted by the absolute cream of the crop like Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin.
He's likely in the number four spot in the UFC heavyweight division right now. It was reported at the press conference that Mir had a broken jaw and rib so he'll be on the mend for a while. Depending on how quickly he can recover, he could potentially face the Shane Carwin / Junior dos Santos loser. There's also the possibility that he fights Brendan Schaub if "The Hybrid" can get by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 134. Potentially, the most intriguing match-up would be a trilogy fight with Brock Lesnar if the former champion is actually recovered and ready to go by New Year's 2012.
So what do you think Maniacs?
Is Mir a title contender again? What's the consensus on Roy Nelson's belly?