Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport
There's not a lot of problem solving to do in preparation for Roy Nelson's striking.
All his opponents know to look for the overhand right and right uppercut, but "Big Country" still finds a way to land with his power hand regularly. As surprising as it is for a fighter of his stature, footwork is one of the main reason's for Nelson's success.
Like Daniel Cormier, Nelson does a good job of controlling the center of the Octagon, especially early in fights. It will be interesting to see which fighter has more success moving forward on Saturday, as that alone could determine how the fight goes when standing early on.
Against Cheick Kongo, Nelson was able to corner his opponent and prevent him from circling away from his right hand (top left). When Kongo tried to circle to Nelson's right and land a leg kick (top right), "Big Country" stepped in and met the Frenchman with a huge overhand right (bottom).
Where Kongo didn't want to circle into Nelson and clinch initially, Cormier would have the confidence to work off of the fence from the clinch rather than risk circling into a right hand.
More concerning to Cormier than his footwork on the edge of the Octagon is Nelson's footwork and countering in the center. It negated a speed disadvantage against Matt Mitrione and could do the same against Cormier on Saturday.
Above, Mitrione loaded up a straight left as Nelson stepped forward with his lead leg (top left). Nelson quickly pivoted, moving his head out of the path of Mitrione's punch, and countered with a big right uppercut (top right). Already rocked by the right hand that him him from a blind angle, Mitrione also ate a left hook and overhand right on his way down to the canvas (bottom).
Nelson may not have the quickness or volume striking to beat Cormier in a striking match over three rounds. However, in space, he still has the power to end this fight with a single punch.