When Roy Nelson steps into the Octagon, the ruckus is coming in short order. The former IFL heavyweight champion has built a reputation for being one of the gamest fighters under the UFC banner as he's tangled with some of the division's best.
Since winning the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter, the Las Vegas native has become a fan-favorite working behind his hammer of a right hand, granite chin and a unflinching willingness to mix it up. Nevertheless, in his most recent outings "Big Country" has traded in the three-round war for the settling the opposition in devastating fashion within the limits of the opening frame.
The 34-year-old will be looking to keep his streak of first-round knockouts alive when he steps in against veteran Cheick Kongo this weekend at UFC 159. Nelson believes a devastating finish is what the fans want to see and compared clipping his opponent's lights out to a baseball player putting a shot in the cheap seats.
"I think I'm probably one of the only long-ball hitters out of the heavyweights," Nelson told Bleacher Report. "I think the only other one is probably Junior [dos Santos]. I don't think Junior wins any other way besides knocking people out as well. Cain wrestles them. [Antonio Silva] knocks people out or he gets knocked out and that is what makes that exciting. Alistair [Overeem] is just good to look at, and I think that's about it."
Despite having a black belt in jiu-jitsu under Renzo Gracie, Nelson's most devastating asset has been his one-shot put-away power as of late. And with Kongo's strength coming in the stand-up department, many figure the battle with Nelson to play out largely on the feet. That being said, the gritty heavyweight is prepared for everything his opponent brings to Octagon—even if a few of his tactics are of the unconventional variety.
"Cheick has a couple different strategies," Nelson said. "I have to make sure he doesn't grab my shorts -- that's a big one. No knees to the balls. No grabbing the fence. And then hopefully he won't run. Those are the things I've been looking at in his game. I'm there to fight. I'm going out there to fight and I'm going to try to knock his block off.
"If he wants to fight, that is what I'm here for. If Cheick wants to fight, then I'm ready to go. But if he's going to run, then I didn't bring my running shoes. I'll chase him down if I have to, but at the end of the day I just want to fight."
Duane Finley is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.