Roy Nelson came up big on Saturday night.
The man nicknamed "Big Country" electrified the crowd with a first-round knockout over longtime UFC heavyweight veteran Cheick Kongo in the third of five main card bouts at UFC 159 in Newark, New Jersey.
Nelson needed just 123 seconds to finish his opponent.
What we'll remember about the fight
To be fair, not much goes down in 123 seconds, especially in an MMA fight. But Nelson made an impression with his quick knockout win, sending Kongo far back in the heavyweight line.
Kongo used to be considered one of the division's top kickboxers, and at one point in time, he was. However, he will not be remembered for that when UFC 159 is referenced. Instead, Nelson's heavy right hand will remain the focus.
What we learned about Roy Nelson
Nelson may not be a contender, but he's just about the last heavyweight you'd want to face.
"Big Country" has an iron chin, a great grappling game, good stand-up and power. He can't beat the best—guys like Junior dos Santos or Cain Velasquez—but he can compete with just about everyone else.
Against Kongo, we learned that Nelson fears no one in the striking game, which could be attributed to his fight against dos Santos. After all, he took a massive beating in that one.
We also learned, or at least were reminded, that his power is a threat every time he steps into the cage. Nelson is experienced, unafraid and looks for the finish.
He's just about the worst matchup for any heavyweight contender or prospect.
What we learned about Cheick Kongo
Kongo is 1-2 in his last three fights with both losses coming by way of knockout. He's also 4-4-1 in his last nine. The 18-fight UFC veteran has been less than stellar in the latter half of his UFC career.
On Saturday night, it's hard to suggest we learned a lot more about Kongo. However, one thing is for certain: He is on the way out.
Kongo proved yet again that he is nowhere near a title shot—that much is obvious. But the heavyweight also made it clear that he can't hang with the upper-tier fighters (the main card guys) anymore.
We also learned that Kongo's back is against the wall. He's been brutally knocked out twice since February 2012. If he loses his next contest, he'll likely be searching for a new employer.
What's next for Nelson?
Nelson entered this contest ranked as the No. 6 heavyweight contender, just ahead of Frank Mir. A rematch with Mir would work for "Big Country." However, another, more intriguing option exists...a matchup with Alistair Overeem.
Overeem is coming off a knockout loss to Antonio Silva but remains one of the better heavyweights in the UFC. Nelson vs. Overeem could prove to be an exciting fight for the promotion.
What's next for Kongo?
Kongo is in desperate need of a win, and there are plenty of heavyweights who are also looking for victories in the UFC.
A rematch against Travis Browne would make sense now, considering the two fought to a draw at UFC 120.
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