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UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter 10, Episode 3 Recap

The Ultimate Fighter 10: Episode 3 Recap
Report by, Brent Wilson

Shockingly the show opens up with Kimbo. Kimbo is talking with Abe Wagner about the house making him a lot more spiritual, the solitude giving him time to pray and connect with God. He talks about one day shaving the beard off and putting Kimbo Slice to rest and how his “inner me” was his “enemy” rather than the outside world.

Brendan Schaub and Darrill Schoonover discuss how the Roy Nelson/Kimbo Slice fight could have been a PPV headliner and how both are sacrificing six figures to do the fight on the show instead. Which is true, but both are getting ten times the eyeballs and exposure through this venue, no one cared about Nelson vs. Jeff Monson, which was the headliner of the MMA portion on the terrible Roy Jones Jr. March Badness PPV, everyone cares about Kimbo on TUF. Rashad talks about how talented Nelson is and how independent he is, largely acting as his own manager, and taking a lot of training on his own back.

Keith Jardine comes to the show to help Team Rashad train, which turns into an excuse for Rashad and Rampage to talk trash on each other. It’s still awesome with both guys accusing the other of ducking the other, Rampage also calls James McSweeney a Rashad nuthugger, and thinks that Rashad could use some gum for his halitosis.

More Kimbo! Rampage praises Kimbo for being humble, having a strong work ethic, and being willing to learn. Rampage stresses that they’ve been working with Kimbo on getting up and with takedown defense. Rampage understands that doing drills won’t be as easy as working it against Nelson which is very true. Nelson has very good control on the ground, only Jeff Monson has had any success getting up unless Nelson was scrambling for a submission, although both Andrei Arlovski and Ben Rothwell were both able to explode up once. Even in scrambles Nelson has shown very good control, turning an underhook into a Whizzer to take back control when Michael Buchkovich tried to stand up in their fight.

Brendan Schaub and Team Rashad talk about how although Kimbo sways from side to side with his hips he really doesn’t use a lot of movement with either his feet or head and how that could make him an easy mark to keep on the end of Nelsons stiff jab. Kimbos trouble with the crucifix position in the James Thompson fight is also brought up, Nelson has a really solid base in side control, making him the complete opposite of James Thompson, obviously getting the fight there would pay rich dividends for Nelson.

ANGLE ALERT: Marcus Jones is portrayed as Mr. Sensitive. He talks about his love of comics, flowers, and Dungeons and Dragons, and is shown having his confidence and feelings shaken by Scott Junk petitioning Coach Rampage for the next fight rather than himself. Some people could construe that being so sensitive could hurt his ability to have a killer instinct as a fighter. Jones reacts very poorly to getting hit, and will turn away and run from a flurrying opponent, I took that as Jones still being super green to combat sports after his NFL career, but it could also be that he just isn’t a natural born fighter. There’s no shame in that, I quit kickboxing after I found out my face was allergic to getting punched, and it’s clear in guys like Bob Sapp that getting beat up isn’t for everyone. OR like most people who write about sports I’m probably guilty of psychoanalyzing for no reason and after more ring time Jones could be a killer.

Kimbo weighs in at 230 with shirt, shoes, and skull cap, Roy Nelson at 264. Nelson didn’t cut to get below 265.

Do you want to hear in detail about Roy Nelsons game? Too bad, here’s a bunch of paragraphs anyway.

Roy Nelson is the most accomplished fighter this season and thus is deservedly the favorite. Nelson donned the snakeskin belt as a former IFL Heavyweight Champion and has by far the most top names on his resume.

Nelson is most acclaimed for his grappling but has some chops standing as well. Nelson keeps his right hand high and pumps an accurate, solid, straight jab often. Nelson has the best jab on the show, other guys throw a decent jab but Nelson is the only one who works it. Nelson throws it to establish distance, to set up his right, as he steps in to clinch, and also to try and keep guys off of him if they step in. The only other punch Nelson really throws is a lead straight right, either on its own or following the jab, both punches are hard, and most importantly straight. Nelson has shown power in that right as well, dropping Mario Rinaldi, Antoine Jaoude, and Brad Imes with it. Nelson has added a right uppercut in his past few fights but it hasn’t really connected as of yet, he’s also added a lot more feints, especially when facing opposition with limited stand up. Nelson has gotten more comfortable on the feet over time, but still knows his bread and butter is his grappling, he usually uses his hands to close the distance and grab the clinch against opponents, although shows good gameplanning in being willing to stand longer against grappling oriented opponents.

Nelson can still be hurt on the feet, he doesn’t have the longest reach and both Andrei Arlovski and Ben Rothwell had success in peppering him with kicks, the inside leg kick especially. Guys who throw straight punches back can have success landing as Nelson steps in to look to clinch, Nelson looks awkward when flurried upon doing a lot of standing still while bending at the waist and ducking. This ducking causes wide hooks to sail over his head, but straight shots land, and this ducking leaves Nelson wide open for uppercuts. Nelson’s first defeat to Josh Curran came mainly because Nelson gassed hard, but also because Curran landed a number of hard uppercuts in close, so did Rothwell, an Arlovski uppercut precipitated the straight right that finished Nelson. Dirty boxing as Nelson looks to clinch and knees to the body have also worked against him. Despite being relatively hittable Nelson has shown a very good chin, eating shots in many of his fights with only Arlovski really hurting him.

Nelson has very good wrestling, and it is all set up from the clinch, Nelson clinches often in his fights and is very active pummeling for underhooks. He has a variety of takedown attempts from this position with by far the most effective being trips, he also looks to change levels for single or double legs after clinching, using basic body lock throws or even some lateral drops which can end up with himself on bottom. These takedowns have a pretty high success rate and Nelson is very slick at landing in side control off of them. Nelson is incredibly adept at grabbing dominant positioning after dropping opponents with his right, Nelson then looks to hop into dominant position to ensure he gets a finish, hopping to mount on Rinaldi, and knee on belly to Jaoude to land their death knells. Not a lot of opponents have tried to take Nelson down, for good reason as his takedown D has looked very solid. He’s shown this recently, hitting a switch on Arlovski, reversing his trip attempt to end up on top, as well as pancaking Jeff Monson several times, showing a great sprawl.

Once on the ground Nelson’s most effective tool are his guard passing and control. Nelson has passed the guard on everyone he’s gotten down, including getting to mount on Monson. He also uses his size very effectively to hold his opponents down, only Monson has been able to get up consistently on Nelson. When opponents attempt to stand or roll over Nelson controls them with underhooks and uses their movement to pass. Nelson isn’t the most dangerous submission guy, sometimes looking for kimuras from side, but has great positioning and posture skills. If Nelson can’t get to side or mount quickly he is more than comfortable standing over his opponent in guard and landing hard, hurtful ground and pound with both hands putting both Fabiano Scherner and Bryan Vetell to sleep in this fashion. He’s fought very seldomly from his back, but when he has has looked more to create space and get his hips in to kick away rather than work from his guard.

I’ve basically just written an essay about how great Roy Nelson is…..but you’re still just going to look at him and call him fatty. That’s fair, Nelson’s cardio is generally lauded as “not that bad for how fat you are”, which is pretty accurate, Nelson certainly gets more tired as the fight progresses with his hands dropping and his footwork tapering off, but he’s only actually gassed in one fight, the Josh Curran one from Bodog. The only real concern I have with Nelson is how hittable he can be, but I really wouldn’t favor anyone one this show (or a number of top guys in the UFC) from stopping Nelson from implementing his game. He matches up amazingly well against generic brawlers who have never fought off their back.

Phew, here’s far less about Kimbo.

Kimbo’s streetfighter cred took a big hit after having trouble putting away the glass-chinned James Thompson, and then getting dropped by a fallaway one-legged jab by Seth Petruzelli, obviously much of the KIMBO hype was indeed mythos. Kimbos’ hands are actually pretty good with all things considered, he mixes both hands nicely both upstairs and down, throws uppercuts successfully, has nice inline elbows and knees to the body in close, he does a good job using his hands to control opponents heads with one hand to frame them up with shots for the other. When Kimbo sits down on his shots, sets them up and throws straight he does have power, his 1-2 that put away Tank was beautiful and he wobbled Thompson multiple times with a stiff jab.

Where Kimbo gets into trouble is when he starts brawling and standing still right in front of his opponents. When this happens his shots start to loop and he starts to push his punches, throwing lots of arm punches which sacrifices lots of power for flinging volume. Just look at the Sean Gannon street fight where Kimbo was able to bust up Gannons face badly by landing volume with bare fists but still clearly lost and was unable to stop Gannon from coming forward. This also hurts his defense as he doesn’t move his feet to avoid shots while brawling, instead just bending at the waist backwards or side to side making him an easier target. Being so planted makes Kimbo much easier to knock off balance with leg kicks, an inside leg kick from Thompson sent Kimbo careening across the cage. One KO can’t convict a chin, but the Petruzelli defeat certainly leaves Kimbo with questions about his figurative beard, and Gannon buckled Kimbos knees with a short shot early too. His literal beard is still awesome.

Kimbo is clearly a strong dude, when opponents bullrush him he’s able to use his hips to just power his way out of body lock attempts, however that’s the extent of his takedown defense. As soon as James Thompson got hold of a leg Kimbo just toppled over like an oak, time after time. Once on his back Kimbo’s guard is nonexistent, James Thompson had abysmal control as he was on his knees perched up high in side control and Kimbo was still only able to get up once. He also clearly showed he had no real idea of how to get Thompson off of him as he tried to just straight up bench-press Thompson up, the fact that it almost worked says far more about Thompson than Kimbo. This made for a very sloppy fight with lots of reversals, Kimbo showed no real idea of how to control Thompson the few times he ended up on top either.

Kimbo does have some attributes on the feet that aren’t myth, but he’s far too one-dimensional, and the fact remains that anytime he’s fought anyone who can fight he’s lost or looked brutal.

Again, Nelson is hittable and looks awkward putting his hands straight out when opponents start to flurry, as he steps in and clinches he’s open for uppercuts which Kimbo does have. But really, that’s Kimbos only chance, it will be very difficult to keep Nelson off of him and getting tripped down and completely controlled. If Nelson comes out pumping that jab he could also keep Kimbo off balance and win on the feet.

Opening Round Heavyweight Fight #3
Roy Nelson (13-4) vs. Kimbo Slice (3-1)

Round One
Roy comes out pumping his jab, he’s hanging further back than he does against most opponents, showing respect for Kimbo. Kimbo is showing a tiny amount of footwork, but is really just shuffling in place. Hard jab from Nelson, he steps in but quickly disengages. Kimbo lands a hard leg kick on his first real strike, good strategy. Nelson is stepping away from Kimbo but is doing so straight back, and his hands get in awkward positions as he moves. Both guys are real passive mostly feinting and feeling each other out. Nelson starts pumping straight lefts and jabs, but Kimbo is just off the ends of them due to Nelson starting farther out. Kimbo presses Nelson to the fence a right hook clips Nelson, Nelson gets in another awkward position, reaching straight out for Kimbo while too far away to clinch and eats an uppercut. Kimbo is flurrying but Nelson ducks everything but those two shots and pushes Slice to the fence. Nelson has an underhook, Kimbo again doesn’t show great technique but is using his strong hips to bow out keeping Nelson away from his legs and using wrist control to prevent a knee pick. Reaching with that wrist control prevents Kimbo from really stopping Nelson from pummeling his arm inside and grabbing double underhooks.

Unlike his prior fights Nelson is just trying to wrench Kimbo to the ground. Pushing away from the fence Nelson is able to break the surprising stalemate and hook a trip takedown, and sliding on the way down to land in side and right to mount, Nelson shows again that he is very quick at taking dominant positions in scrambles which is the easiest time to grab them. Nelson grabs wrist control of his own to set up a pass to the crucifix position. Kimbo tries to leg press off the cage but Nelson moves with him and retains position. Roy starts landing light left hands and is pumping them over and over and over. They’re really light shots but Kimbo is showing no defense but waving his legs, Herb Dean threatens to stop the fight. Luckily for Kimbo there’s only ten seconds left and the round ends.

Nelsons’ round 10-9. Kimbo actually looked alright, keeping on his feet in the clinch a lot longer than I thought he would and had a smidge of success flurrying. But Nelson flexed his strengths here, strong jab, really good trip takedowns and excellent passing and control. He also showed his big weakness, awkward defense that makes him hittable. It’s clear Nelson planned on going to the crucifix because he knew Kimbo couldn’t escape, but I’d like to see him pound from mount or even standing over full guard where he’s shown really hurtful ground and pound.

Round Two
Both guys are flatfooted to start the round. Instead of pumping the jab Nelson is now pawing with it, that’s dangerous it’s no longer a deterrent and opens you up to overhand rights. Hey! There’s a straight right from Kimbo. It was actually set up by Kimbo throwing a jab which made Nelson drop straight back and move his hands outward. Kimbo follows with two lefts, Nelson presses forward and Kimbo frames him for a right hand that lands. Kimbo throws a knee while getting pushed back and tumbles down. Nelson again is angle himself to side control as they go down. Nelson again fights the crucifix while pressing his belly into Kimbos face. This is effective control but not a lot of striking which saw Nelson stood up from side against Arlovski. Nelson secures the crucifix again and starts pumping those soft lefts. Kimbo has no idea of how to escape and would’ve stayed there essentially forever so Herb Dean stops the fight at 2:00 of Round Two.

Winner: Roy Nelson by TKO (strikes)

Honestly, probably about the best result Kimbo could have hoped for. He landed hard strikes while the fight was standing and then lost to much softer, one inch punches on the ground, with the fight arguably being stopped before Kimbo was even hurt. Nelson obviously had this gameplan in mind from watching the James Thompson fight, again I think he would’ve done more damage using his regular gameplan but the man knew Kimbo had no way out and that he would win easily in that position, so more power to him.

Dana White takes the prototypical casual fan response. Why is Roy Nelson so happy? He did just enough to win and not get hit!!!! Kimbo is going to really improve still!!! Dana also teases the fact that Kimbo could come back into the tourney, so please keep watching, please.

The teaser for next weeks show continues this Kimbo push to try and keep people interested. The tease is that Marcus Jones shows big power in practice, but then collapses and could potentially open the door for Kimbo to come back. Please, please, please keep watching says Zuffa.