Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira (34-8-1,
3 KO’s, 21 Subs)
Big Nog has alternated wins and losses over his last eight fights. If the sequence continues he will end up a winner on April 11th when he takes on Roy Nelson. But that pattern originates all the way back to 2008 when he defeated a fading giant named Tim Sylvia, who by the way hasn’t fought in the UFC since, and his subsequent victories have come off the backs of Dave Herman, Brendan Schaub and a 45-year-old Randy Couture. All tough guys to be sure but certainly not championship caliber timber. His losses during that span have come at the hands (feet, elbows and knees) of Frank Mir (twice), champion Cain Velasquez and to Fabricio Werdum in his latest trip inside the Octagon in June of last year.
Minotauro is an elite submission artist and a fourth degree black belt in BJJ coupled with your run-of-the-mill black belt in judo. He is lethal when the fight hits the canvas as evidenced by his 21 submissions but also possesses a decent enough stand up game to keep his opponents honest. Yet it was another highly skilled mat tactician, Fabricio Werdum, who beat the master at his own game and locked Minotauro up in a brutal armbar that led to a tap out in the second round of their bout in their native Brazil.
Roy “Big Country” Nelson (19-9, 12
KO’s, 5 Subs)
Take a good hard look at Roy Nelson folks because you may not see the likes of his kind again inside the Octagon. Roy Nelson is a vestige of an age gone by when tough guys, real tough guys with granite chins and a beer belly to boot could actually succeed in a sport designed for men just like him. But as we all know the sport has evolved and the Tank Abbots of the MMA world succumbed not only to time but a new breed of chiseled, tattooed warriors replete with a cadre of nutritionists and trainers that have turned the sport into a not so sweet science.
But Roy Nelson is far more evolved than the rough and tumble barroom fighters of yesteryear. He packs a legendary punch yet is inordinately talented on the mat for a man of his size and physique. In any other organization he would be a top contender but in the major leagues of MMA he is but a gatekeeper at the outmost reaches of the heavyweight division. He has fought six times over the past two calendar years racking up three consecutive knockouts over similarly styled KO artists Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo but bowing to heavyweight titans Fabricio Werdum, Stipe Miocic and most recently to top light heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier all by decision.
Free UFC Pick:
As we peruse the UFC odds in this one we find that as of this writing no lines are being dealt but that doesn’t mean we can’t break it down and determine the fighter best suited to cash in our UFC picks. At 37-years-old and closing in on 38 both fighters are getting long in the tooth and this fight is pivotal if they are to remain a viable option in the UFC. But of the two, you have to believe that Roy Nelson is in far deeper jeopardy of getting his ticket punched out of Dana White’s elite organization.
So here’s my take. Roy Nelson has never been submitted and only knocked cold once in his lengthy MMA career. When Nelson loses, he loses by decision. As this is a main event it will be a five-round fight and I don’t see this going the distance. I know Nogueira has two shots at knocking out Nelson, slim and none – and none just left town, while a submission victory is suspect at best.
That’s why this fight favors Big Country. Nelson will deliver his big blasts and Nogueira will try to counter by going to the canvas. While it’s true Nelson is not as expert on the ground as Big Nog, he can acquit himself quite nicely as he has done so in the past.Play Roy Nelson in your UFC Picks at Bet365.com