Here I was, all set to enjoy the free time produced by the lack of a “New Blood” column for UFC 231, which takes place inside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, this Saturday night (Dec. 8, 2018). Then, suddenly, late replacement Jesse Ronson gets pulled for being too big to make the Lightweight limit (details) and I have to scramble to cobble together a reasonably coherent piece about a Canadian guy who heretofore I’d never heard of.
I know Ronson lost his chance at another sting in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), perhaps forever, but I think we can all agree I’m the real victim here. So here’s a little ditty about Kyle Nelson, who now battles Carlos Diego Ferreira on UFC 231’s “Prelims” undercard (Fight Pass).
Name: Kyle “The Monster” Nelson
Weight Class: Lightweight
Record: 12-1 (4 KO, 4 SUB)
Notable Victories: Jonathan Brookins
Tapology has Ronson as Canada’s No. 2-ranked Lightweight, so UFC did a pretty bang-up job securing No. 3-ranked Nelson as his replacement. He has won six straight, five by stoppage and four in the first round, since his sole career defeat in 2015.
“The Monster” is a generalist, as you might have gathered from him having four wins apiece by knockout, submission and decision. He’s a smooth, effective striker, sprinkling in the occasional fancy shift punch or uppercut in his basic-but-effective kickboxing. He also has notably solid takedown defense, able to deny shots, pop back up if taken down, or reverse into takedowns of his own.
Once on the ground, he’s shown a strong passing game and some nasty elbows, as well as a good eye for taking the back when the opportunity presents itself.
Really, nothing in his game stands out as deficient, save perhaps for stopping power on his feet. He doesn’t seem terribly quick, either, to be fair, and his opposition quality has been inconsistent. I believe we’ll learn a lot about his ceiling the first time we see him against a UFC-caliber opponent.
Opponent: He’s in tough against grappling ace Carlos Diego Ferreira. While Nelson has shown strong defensive wrestling, he’s also fought the majority of his bouts at Featherweight. He’ll be at a size and strength disadvantage against a man who can finish him practically as soon as the fight hits the ground. Hopefully, win or lose, UFC will give him another shot after this upcoming weekend.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 231 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.