'The Ultimate Fighter 16' Post-Fight Stock Report
Team Roy Nelson came, saw and conquered at The Ultimate Fighter Season 16 finale.
The beloved potbellied heavyweight continued his climb back up the ladder with a highlight-reel first-round knockout over Matt Mitrione in Saturday night's headliner.
Nelson isn't the biggest or most athletic heavyweight in the world, but he once again proved that he has the chin and knockout power to stand and exchange with anyone in the pocket.
The win was Nelson's second straight since getting trounced earlier in the year by top heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum.
In the co-main event, Colton Smith, Nelson's fourth pick on TUF, routed Mike Ricci to become the Season 16 winner. It was an all-out grappling affair for Smith, who utilized his superior wrestling and positioning to coast to a lopsided unanimous decision.
There was plenty to take away from the TUF 16 finale. The event featured exciting fights and memorable finishes. Fans were able to see the resurgence of UFC veterans and the emergence of newcomers.
The mantra in MMA is that a fighter is only as good as his last fight. Here is the latest stock report from the TUF 16 finale.
Roy Nelson: Same
As good as Roy Nelson is, we really didn't learn anything about him on Saturday night that we didn't already know.
He has a granite chin and bricks for hands.
Unfortunately, Nelson has been stuck roughly in the same spot throughout most of his career. He is capable of defeating middle-of-the-pack heavyweight contenders, but when faced with upper-echelon opposition, he typically folds under the bright lights.
If anything, a win over Mitrione should earn Nelson another crack at a top-10 heavyweight opponent.
Can he finally get over the hump?
Matt Mitrione: Falling
It might have been smarter for Matt Mitrione to pass on the opportunity to step in for Shane Carwin as a late replacement against Roy Nelson.
The former NFL player, who was already coming off a decision loss to Cheick Kongo, suffered his second consecutive defeat at the hands of Nelson in a vicious first-round knockout.
It has been a steep falloff for Mitrione, who was considered a major heavyweight prospect a little over a year ago.
Colton Smith: Rising
It was smooth sailing in the TUF 16 final for Colton Smith, who won the six-figure contract after a dominant performance against Mike Ricci.
The amount of promising talent emerging from the TUF reality show has been dying over the years, but Smith looks like a great prospect to keep an eye out for.
He still seems to be a little rough around the edges in his striking and submission skills. It'll be interesting to see how high the ceiling goes for Smith.
Mike Ricci: Falling
If Mike Ricci is awarded another shot in the UFC, it'll likely be on the undercard.
It can be a difficult transition for fighters coming off TUF and crossing over into the main UFC roster. Unless they make a major splash on the show or the finale, fighters are usually released and fade from existence.
Ricci wasn't just defeated by Colton Smith at the TUF finale. He was completely outclassed for all three rounds.
Pat Barry: Slightly Rising
Pat Barry almost falls into the same category as Roy Nelson.
He had an impressive Knockout of the Night performance against Shane Del Rosario, but we didn't learn anything new about the two-time Sanshou champion.
We already knew Barry had incredible striking and jarring knockout power. Perhaps the best thing to take away from this fight was Barry's improved conditioning.
Del Rosario controlled the first round of the fight, but he began to wilt and leave his hands at his side during the second round.
Barry has obviously been hard at work on his weight training and conditioning, and his newfound regimen is paying dividends. Can he ever defeat a top-10 heavyweight, or will he remain one of the UFC's perennial journeymen?
Shane Del Rosario: Falling Rapidly
Shane Del Rosario is tumbling toward irrelevancy fast.
The two-time WBC World Muay Thai heavyweight champ hasn't been the same since his near-fatal car wreck in April 2011. It's been a tough past couple of fights for a man many expected to be the next heavyweight superstar.
Del Rosario is coming off back-to-back knockout losses to Pat Barry and Stipe Miocic. Hopefully the former Strikeforce heavyweight can return to form and find his way.
Former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir, who was in a serious motorcycle accident in 2004, can definitely relate to Del Rosario's situation.
Dustin Poirier: Rising
Dustin Poirier's march toward redemption began with Jonathan Brookins at the TUF 16 finale.
Brookins came out with much-improved striking, but in the end, it wasn't enough to stop Poirier. Poirier latched on a first-round submission and continued to stake his claim as one of the best in the featherweight division.
The win propels Poirier back into the thick of things at 145 pounds.
Jonathan Brookins: Falling
Jonathan Brookins was game against an incredibly tough opponent in Dustin Poirier.
The move to Tristar Gym has paid dividends for Brookins' improved striking, but unfortunately, it wasn't enough to defeat Poirier.
With the loss, Brookins falls to 1-3 in his last four fights. It could be do or die in his next bout.