All it took was three big overhand right punches for Roy Nelson to snap a two-fight losing streak Friday in Abu Dhabi against legendary former heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira. The two grapplers decided stand and trade punches for all of the nearly three minutes that their bout lasted and Nelson's power proved to be superior as he scored a walk-off KO win over the Brazilian.
In his post-fight interview, "Big Country" praised his opponent, giving him credit as a pioneer of the sport. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be fighting in MMA as heavyweights," Nelson said of Nogueira.
Nelson went on to say that he planned "to go the full five rounds," but that his "right hand just landed first." It did indeed, early and often.
The round began with the taller Nogueira pumping his lead jab out at Nelson as the corpulent warrior covered up, crouched and bobbed. After about one minute, Nelson landed his first overhand right, dropping "Big Nog," to the canvas.
The submission ace seemed to regain his bearings immediately as he looked up at Nelson from an open guard. When they returned to their feet, it was more of the same - Nogueira confidently pumping his jab, catching mostly air, and Nelson bobbing and weaving out of danger.
Nelson got inside and took advantage of Nogueira's low hands once more with an overhand to the chin, knocking the former Pride and UFC champ down again. Nogueira got back to his feet but it was clear that he was done as he wobbled back and forth before taking one more blast to the chin, putting him down, cold and out for good - his arms and legs stretched out, stiffly.
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt has been in some of the sport's biggest wars, and has come out on top in most of them. This loss is the latest in a disturbing trend of trauma-inducing losses for the future Hall of Famer, however.
Nogueira, a near fifteen year veteran, has now lost three out of his last four fights, and five out of his last eight, dating back to 2008.
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