The 16th season of The Ultimate Fighter will conclude tonight when contestants Mike Ricci and Colton Smith battle for a UFC contract. Headlining the event, though, is Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights winner and current TUF coach Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione (9:00pm ET start time, FX). Mitrione, a cast mate of Nelson’s in the Heavyweights series, is filling in for former interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin (knee), who coached opposite “Big Country” this season. UFC Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale Fight Predictions and Odds have Nelson favored at -275 ($275 wins $100) in the main event while Ricci is a -280 favorite ($280 wins $100) to defeat Smith.
Roy “Big Country” Nelson, who garnered a great deal of attention during his time on the Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights series, has only solidified his status as a fan favorite since his appearance on the show.
MMA faithful know Nelson mostly for his large belly, laid back personality, and mangy mullet, all of which were on full display during TUF 16, but his opponents, much to their chagrin, get to see the other side of Las Vegas native. Nelson, who knocked out Brendan Schaub to win the TUF Heavyweights final, is a hard throwing, relentless grinder who leaves it all in the Octagon every time he steps in it.
Nelson’s style does not always lend itself to victory, as evidenced by his 3-3 record since defeating Schaub, but those who fight him do not savor the experience.
Matt Mitrione, a former NFL defensive lineman, has not fought since October of last year when he fell to veteran heavyweight Cheick Kongo via unanimous decision. Despite his age (34), Mitrione is still a work in progress, having fought in only six professional fights. His skill set is tremendous, though, as he is both quick and powerful. The man known as ‘Meathead’ registered five consecutive wins (Christian Morecraft, Tim Hague, Joey Beltran, Kimbo Slice, Marcus Jones) before falling to Kongo and four of those victories came by way of knockout.
Free Pick: Take Nelson -280. Mitrione has more than enough talent to win this fight, but Nelson is the more polished, well rounded fighter. Mitrione’s biggest strength is his heavy hands, but Nelson is known for having one of the hardest heads on the planet (Nelson is one of two fighters to go the distance, Carwin being the other, with current champion Junior dos Santos). And if the fight goes to the ground, Nelson, an accomplished grappler, has the advantage there as well.
UFC Ultimate Fighter 16 Fight Odds -
Roy Nelson -275 vs Matt Mitrione +215
Mike Ricci -280 vs Colton Smith +220
Shane del Rosario -260 vs Patrick Barry +200
Dustin Poirier -340 vs Jonathan Brookins +260
Jamie Varner -105 vs Melvin Guillard -125
Mike Pyle -260 vs James Head +200
Johnny Bedford -225 vs Marcos Vinicius +175
TJ Waldburger -140 vs Nick Catone +110
Rustam Khabilov -285 vs Vinc Pichel +225
Hugo Viana -115 vs Reuben Duran -115
Mike Rio -200 vs John Cofer +160
Tim Elliott -200 vs Jared Papazian +160
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