UFC 146 preview: Nelson vs. Herman

Roy Nelson (16-7) vs. Dave Herman (21-3)

After having his opponent changed twice, from Antonio Silva to Gabriel Gonzaga to Herman, the heavy-set Nelson is hoping to make a statement coming off a one-sided beating at the hands of Fabricio Werdum.

Nelson, 35, a former IFL champion and winner of the 10th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” has earned UFC wins over Brendan Schaub, Stefan Struve and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. Meanwhile, the 2003 Grapplers Quest Superfight champion and ADCC quarterfinalist has dropped fights to Werdum, Frank Mir and champion Junior dos Santos, arguably three of the top five heavyweights in the world.

Equipped with a belly unlike any other UFC fighter, “Big Country” possesses a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie and a background in Shaolin Kung Fu. His looks are deceiving, but he packs heavy power in his hands and an excellent ability to control opponents on the mat.

Perhaps Nelson’s most dangerous trait is his chin, as he can absorb damage unlike any other fighter, while still coming forward and dishing out punishment.

Herman, 27, a product of Team Quest, suffered his first UFC setback this past February, losing by TKO against Struve.

The 21-3 Indiana native holds an impressive record, but Nelson is undoubtedly the best opponent thus far in his career.

Herman likes to implement a kickboxing style, which could be a difference maker if he utilizes his four-inch reach advantage effectively.

However, Herman has also denied that Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a potent weapon, so Nelson may opt to teach him a lesson or two if the fight spills to the floor.

Herman’s assault depends more on accumulation, while Nelson changes the pace of a fight with a single overhand right. Herman will land some nice combinations early, but the incredibly durable Nelson will come on strong when it counts most, putting Herman away with a heavy flurry.

Verdict: Nelson via TKO, Round 2