This weekend's UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson card features a Heavyweight clash in the night's co-main event. Roy Nelson (19-7 MMA; 6-3 UFC) will square off with Stipe Miocic (9-1 MMA; 3-1 UFC). This three round fight is the fourth of five fight on the UFC 161 PPV main card. The UFC rankings have Nelson as the #5 Heavyweight contender while Miocic is unranked. UFC 161: Evans vs. Henderson airs live on PPV this Saturday June 15, with the main PPV card beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT.
If this feels like a somewhat lackluster co-main event, that's because it was not supposed to be in that position. Barao vs. Wineland, Evans vs. Henderson, and Shogun vs. Nogueira were all meant to be at the top of this card, with Miocic facing Soa Palelei underneath. Sweeping injuries bumped this fight up, and the UFC decided to move Nelson in for Palelei. It's kind of a hard move for Palelei, but a wise business decision as a Miocic vs. Palelei co-main event would have been ridiculous. This isn't a ton better, but Nelson at least provides a marquee name.
How do these two stack up?
Nelson: 36 years old | 6'0" | 73" reach
Miocic: 30 years old | 6'4" | 80" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
"Big Country" Roy Nelson is one of the Heavyweight division's more popular fighters. Thanks to, well, his gut, plus his KO power and general everyman persona, he's a throwback to an older era of MMA fighter. After a 1-3 run in the UFC at one point, Nelson has found himself on something of a career resurgence lately. He's found his KO power again and is settling into a position as the Heavyweight gatekeeper to the elite. Last time out, he stole that position from Cheick Kongo, seemingly knocking the former gatekeeper clear out of the UFC. Here, he looks to keep the rising Miocic at bay.
Stipe Miocic was on a steady rise through the ranks, with an undefeated 9-0 record against increasingly tough opposition. But in his last fight, that 0 had to go, as Miocic was KO'd at the hands of Stefan Struve. That was definitely a big setback for the tough Miocic. Of Croatian descent, Miocic has a wrestling background, but also a good stand-up game. It will be very interesting to see how he bounces back from his first pro loss here.
Why should you care?
Roy Nelson brings the fun, and there's a pretty good chance he brings the heavy 1 round KO too. If Miocic does manage to get past him, then we have a new player in the Heavyweight division.