Roy Nelson Vs Brendan Schaub
I said on this site before the event that Roy Nelson needed not just to win, but to win impressively in the final of TUF 10, and indeed he did just that.
After a number of less emphatic victories on the road to the final first round knockout victory was the perfect way for Nelson to punctuate his arrival in the UFC’s heavyweight division, where his past credentials mean he could be set to face stiff competition sooner rather than later.
For Schaub it’s a devastating loss at this early stage in his career, but he has shown potential. He appeared to get the better of the early exchanges on the feet, and also managed to do what others in the season had failed to do – get out from underneath Nelson.
I’m sure hes done enough to ensure he’ll get another opportunity to prove his worth in the promotion.
Jon Jones Vs Matt Hamill
Another fighter looking to make an impact at this event was Jon Jones as he took on Matt Hamill. He put on another impressive display, and, quite literally, showed more of a cutting edge than in previous fights.
The thing that strikes me most about the fight was Jones reach advantage. His unusually long arms and legs give him a significant advantage in the light heavyweight division, and certainly Matt Hamill struggled to get within range in the bout.
Jones also showed good takedown defense when Hamill went for a single leg takedown, and added another effective sweep from the clinch, the impact of which apparently broke his opponents shoulder. From there we got a chance to see his ground and pound, and he looked dangerous as he sent his long limbs crashing down on his opponent, cutting him badly.
The disqualification for using two illegal 12-6 (straight down) elbows was unfortunate, but it was clearly not intentional, and Jones accepted the decision in a mature manner that ensures this will do his career no harm.
At just 22 years of age Jon Jones has plenty of time to improve on an already dangerous skill set, and that must be a sobering though for those competing at the top of the LHW division. Unfortunately for Matt Hamill there were few positives to take from his unlikely win.
Houston Alexander Vs Kimbo Slice
Well it’s safe to say this one didn’t go as expected. Alexander implemented one of the most deeply flawed gameplans in recent memory, evoking memories of Kalib Starnes in the first round as he pointlessly circled around the cage, pausing briefly every now and again to unleash a half-hearted kick.
Slice appeared as bemused as the rest of us by this turn of events. After doing little in the first round he turned up the heat in the second, unexpectedly taking the fight to the floor, slamming Houston twice before briefly gaining the mount and landing a few strikes.
It was the most significant action of the fight and appeared to take it’s toll on Alexander who began to running out of gas, yet he did not attempt to change his own strategy until the third round.
By that stage any of the notorious knockout power in his strikes had all but evaporated due to tiredness. He did muster the energy to land a powerful kick that took Slice clean off his feet, perhaps showing what he could have achieved earlier if he had fought with more conviction, but on this occasion he was too winded to capitalize.
Slice was visibly tiring as well, but showed his desire to win by getting another point scoring takedown which earned him the round.
Despite gaining the win I don’t see Kimbo Slice being a significant threat in the heavyweight division on the evidence of this display. That said, you have to give him credit for attempting to become a genuine MMA fighter rather than just relying purely on his brawling.
As for Houston Alexander, a poor gameplan and tentative striking may well have brought an end to his time in the UFC once and for all.
Frankie Edgar Vs Matt Veach
After going to a decision in each of his past four fights, Edgar needed to produce something more in this fight to add weight to his push for a lightweight title shot.
In the early stages of the first round it looked like Veach was going to make life difficult for Edgar, showing good wrestling skills including a powerful, Matt Hughes style takedown that slammed his foe to the mat.
Edgar was unfazed though and began to suss out his opponent as the round progressed. By the second he looked to have the measure of Veach and did well to capatalize on a right cross that staggered his opponent, quickly unleashing a flurry of strikes and
Edgar certainly performed well and now has to wait and see whether he has done enough to earn a title shot. Much may still depend on how his rival Gray Maynard performs against Nate Diaz in January.
Stepping in as the underdog in only his second fight, Veach gave Edgar a solid test and earned a $25,000 bonus for competing in the ‘Fight Of The Night’.
Marcus Jones Vs Matt Mitrione
In the build up to this event one of the key questions we posed was whether Marcus Jones stand-up had improved enough since the show to compete with Mitrione if his primary gameplan to take him to the ground failed.
Unfortunately for ‘Big Baby’ it quickly became clear that the answer was ‘no’. He still has a very stiff stance, he closes the distance in an awkward, zombie-like fashion that leaves him open to strikes, and worst of all since it can’t be improved upon, he appears to have little in the way of punch resistance.
If he can bear to watch the reply of the fight he will also be very disappointed that when he did get the fight to the ground, he failed to keep it there, thus letting his opponent back into the bout.
Very early in the second round he paid the price for his clumsy attempt to close distance as the heavy handed Mitrione landed a right hand that sent him falling face down onto the mat.
Having enjoyed watching Jones in the TUF house it pains me to say that I don’t believe he has a future in the UFC. It’s clear he does not enjoy the stand-up game, so perhaps he could continue to indulge his passion for martial arts by competing in Jiu Jitsu and grappling tournaments instead of mixed martial arts.
As for Mitrione, he packs a mean punch, but I don’t believe he has the skills to survive in the UFC’s heavyweight division and having come across poorly on the show he will likely be cut sooner rather than later.
Overall I came away feeling that the TUF 10 finale was a bit of an oddity. Houston Alexander’s performance was bizarre, Jon Jones disqualification unfortunate, and Hulk Hogan’s interview with Joe Rogan was just embarrassing.
I also noticed that the event was not full to capacity which might raise a few eyebrows considering this was the most watch season of TUF ever and Kimbo is still believed to be a major draw for casual fans.
Another thing that stood out to me was the vast difference in quality between current UFC fighters like Jon Jones and Frankie Edgar, and the latest batch of TUF newbies like Matt Mitrione and Kimbo Slice. If the promotion can’t find suitable talent for the show then perhaps they should consider reducing the amount of seasons they produce each year, rather than dilute the roster with sub-standard fighters.
Having said that, despite his physique not being a great advert for the UFC or the sport in general, there’s no doubt that Roy Nelson be a serviceable addition to the heavyweight division. Like Ben Rothwell (who holds a win over Nelson) however, he may find that life in the UFC’s heavyweight divison is a considerable step up from the IFL, and the caliber of opposition he fought on this seasons show.
See the full list of results from last night’s card here