By Adam Martin
The UFC has found a replacement opponent for Shane Carwin.
Matt Mitrione will step up on short notice to fight Roy Nelson in the main event of “The Ultimate Fighter 16: Finale.” The news was tweeted out by the UFC today, citing verbal agreements are in place between both fighters.
Mitrione was originally set to fight Phil de Fries at UFC 155, but now de Fries will get a new opponent.
The UFC needed Mitrione to replace Carwin because the former UFC interim heavyweight champion pulled out of the fight with Nelson this week after blowing out his knee. The fight between Carwin and Nelson was one of the more-anticipated bouts of December, as the two heavyweights coached opposite of each other on this season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
But the fight won’t happen now and instead Mitrione is getting the chance of a lifetime against Nelson, after he turned down short notice fights against Travis Browne and Daniel Cormier in recent months.
Both Mitrione and Nelson competed on season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter” but it was Nelson who ended up winning the show and the six-figure contract with the UFC. Since then, both men have fared decently in the UFC, but they’ve both lost when they’ve stepped up to fight better competition.
Mitrione hasn’t competed since UFC 137 in October 2011, when he lost a three-round unanimous decision to Cheick Kongo. Prior to that the former NFL player had won five-straight fights in the UFC. Known for his athleticism and colourful personality, Mitrione is 5-1 in his UFC and MMA career, including four wins via knockout.
Nelson, on the other hand, is a veteran of the sport who holds a 17-7 MMA record and a 4-3 record in the UFC including three “Knockout of the Night” awards. Nelson is coming off a one-punch KO of Dave Herman at UFC 146 and with a win over Mitrione, he’ll push himself back near the top 10 of the division.
The fight between Nelson and Mitrione is expected to be a three-round main event since it was taken on short notice. Regardless, after a poor season of TUF, the injury to Carwin wasn’t what the UFC wanted, and Mitrione vs. Nelson, while fun, isn’t the high-level bout that Carwin vs. Nelson would have been.
What are your thoughts?