From beginning to end Stipe Miocic dominated Roy Nelson in the stand-up battle tonight at UFC 161 to earn a well deserved decision victory.
They exchange early and both men reach down for takedowns and then think better of it in the opening minute.
Nice punch lands for Miocic, using his reach advantage. Nelson is moving forward quickly to negate that advantage, swinging big punches in Moicic’s direction in the process. He’s putting him under pressure, but Miocic is moving well to keep out of danger and is landing the occasional nice counter strike.
Miocic lands a few hard punches and follows up with a knee strike and Nelson seems to be in a bit of trouble here. An acknowledgment of that is that Nelson then goes for a takedown, but doesn’t land it.
Nelson is right back to pressing forward, but Miocic is really looking comfortable here in the striking department. He lands more strikes and Nelson’s knees buckle. Knees to the face follow amongst more strikes – but can Miocic finish him though? He certainly gets very close, before opting to taper down his pace and instead opts to clinch, giving Nelson a little time to recover and make it to the bell.
The round ends and Nelson puts his hands on his knees and takes some deep breaths, clearly already very tired after a tough first round.
Onto round two and Nelson’s continuing to be aggressive, but he’s still having trouble finding a home for many of his strikes. Mioicic on the other hand is still being fluid with his own offense and he puts Nelson in trouble again with a flurry of strikes.
Good accuracy from Miocic as he continues to rock Nelson’s head back. Finally Nelson moves in and lands a nice uppercut that lands flush, but Miocic circles out of danger.
Back to the precision punching from Moicic. He wades forward with lefts and rights before clinching up with Nelson in the final 30 seconds of the round. Miocic backs away and rides out the final 10 seconds which frustrates Nelson.
Onto round three and Miocic is still landing with frequency, while Nelson is swinging more wildly now as he tries to find the home-run hitter he needs to get the win here.
Nelson barging forward aggressively and Miocic literally runs away to put some distance between them. More winging shots from Nelson follow, but they miss the mark.
Miocic manages to land a takedown, but Nelson is quickly back upright. Miocic clinches up against the cage, but they are quickly separated.
90 seconds to go and Miocic is swatting at Nelson with the jab. Nelson barrels forward and Miocic gets out of danger.
He presses forward with a flurry of his own and goes back to the clinch game against the cage, but Nelson reverses the position and Miocic breaks free.
Another series of strikes land for Miocic and he coasts comfortably to the final bell.
So, a surprisingly dominant performance from Miocic and he’s well worth his unanimous decision victory (30-27 x3).
This is a fight that’ll help put Miocic on the heavyweight map, while Nelson’s future is now in question given that this was the final bout on his current UFC deal.