Originally written on hov-mma  |  Last updated 11/20/14
When compiling my hov-mma staff fight picks I always do two things. 1. Make better picks than everyone else and 2. Find myself talking up an underdog. Anyone who has read the staff pick 'em will know the former is true but the latter is worth a little more discussion. A prediction every event or so usually goes something like "If fighter X can execute his gameplan perfectly he has a chance of beating his opponent, but it's a big if." Most of the time it doesn't happen. Hendo didn't land his H-Bomb on Rashad or Lyoto, Hunt couldn't knockout JDS, Vinny Magalhaes couldn't submit Phil Davis, nor could Frank Mir submit Daniel Cormier, nobody can stop GSP's takedown, the list goes on and on. This weekend, though, it was different. Stipe Miocic went into the Octagon on Saturday night and executed his gameplan for Roy Nelson to perfection. Winning the fight in the only way he could ever possibly have won it. He used his movement, athleticism and hand speed to pick "Big Country" apart. When fighting Nelson the first thing you have to do is avoid his Scud-missile of a right hand. Miocic did that all night. It's seems so easy for a fighter to say "all I have to do is circle away from his power hand" but against big hitters like Nelson it isn't seen that often. Miocic not only circled away from the power right hand but landed devastating combinations in the process. As the fight progressed Nelsons power dwindled but Miocic never let his guard down. He stuck to his plan for 15 minutes and came closer to finishing Nelson than both former champion Junior Dos Santos and contender Fabricio Werdum. Roy Nelson not only possesses one of the best knockout punches in MMA but also has a dominant ground game. If he gets you down he can submit you or tie you up in his patented crucifix. On Saturday Miocic stuffed all of Nelsons takedowns, each looking more tired looking than the last. Miocic took away the plan B of his opponent. There was no plan C. For Nelson it was a damaging loss to a fighter ranked outside the top ten who everyone was expecting him to beat. Getting the fight on less than two weeks notice he looked majorly out of shape (even more than usual) weighing in at 260 lbs on Friday and gassed quickly. Now entering free agency the loss will leave him in a notably weaker position during negotiations. A possible title contender before the fight, Nelson rolled the dice and now finds himself in a position where he can accept the UFC's offer, which president Dana White confirmed their would be, or test the waters in the open market with Bellator and World Series Of Fighting as possible suitors. Whoever ends up employing Roy Nelson will have to be prepared for a fighter who is supremely talented but who dances to his own tune and isn't exactly easy to deal with. The display of Miocic, though, stole the show at UFC 161 and must rank as one of the best performances of the year. It was a coming of age and a moment to savour for the Croatian-American who redeemed himself after the first defeat of his career in his last bout against Stefan Struve. He not only nullified all of his opponents strengths but showed a vast improvement in his own game. He may have, on paper, been out matched in a multitude of areas but as I said in my prediction last Friday, don't rule Stipe out.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Will LaMarcus Aldridge leave the Portland Trailblazers?

Clippers defeat Spurs, even series at 2-2

JR Smith 'nervous as hell' about possible suspension

Dana White: No more WWE for Ronda Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk for 'bush league' play

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Eli Manning not concerned about contract

Several teams interested in Bucs' No. 1 overall pick?

Report: Marcus Smart overslept, could get less playing time

Report: Adam Wainwright likely done for the season

DeMarco Murray: 'I'm not worried about the Cowboys'

Turner has great quote in defense of Bridgewater

WATCH: Alex Gordon leaps into stands for incredible catch

WATCH: JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder in face

WATCH: Kevin Love leaves Game 4 with shoulder injury

Joe Flacco content with current Ravens receivers

WATCH: Demetrious Johnson wins with last-second submission

WATCH: Jerryd Bayless beats Bulls with buzzer-beater

John Legend catches Belichick checking out Chrissy Teigen

Jim Rice to Jim Palmer: 'Quit complaining'

Time Warner-Comcast failed merger hurts Dodgers fans

WATCH: Bucks mascot devours fan

Protestors tried to have Orioles-Red Sox game called off

Greg Hardy abandons his Bentley during flash flood

MMA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Will Aldridge leave the Blazers?

Alex Gordon leaps into stands for catch

Dana White: No more WWE for Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk

JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder

Report: Wainwright likely done for year

UAB player brings helmet to graduation

Leah Still scores in Temple spring game

Sanchez shares thoughts on Tebow

Stephen A. Smith blasts Tom Brady

Kris Humphries apologizes for Jenner tweet

Five most boring NFL prime time matchups for 2015

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.