Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the UFC Heavyweight Fantasy Tournament. So far, Kenny Florian, Jon Fitch, Nate Marquardt, and Mauricio Shogun Rua have won in their respective divisions.
Last but not least, the biggest men in the sport are about to collide in the final tournament. Since both Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin are champions in the UFC, they are not allowed in this particular tournament.
With that said, here are the eight fighters that will collide in the heavyweight tournament.
First Round, Fight No. 1: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir
Both Mir and Nogueira have proven over the years that they are probably the two best submission fighters in heavyweight history. They have a total of 58 fights together with 28 ending with a submission win.
Both men fought at UFC 92 in what was a one-sided fight for Frank Mir, who became the first man that night to stop Nogueira in a fight. Since then, we learned that Nogueira was actually suffering from a severe staph infection.
Nogueira has requested a rematch with Mir, but he has yet to receive it.
Both men are former champions coming off big first-round losses. Now that Nogueira is in shape, would the fight be any different from UFC 92?
First Round, Fight No. 2: Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo
When Roy Nelson entered The Ultimate Fighter, a lot of people knew who he was while others had no clue. His physique wasn't impressive, and he got under people's skin really early.
Under his fat belly and unique attitude, though, Nelson proved to be a great fighter. Having been stopped only once in his career—by Andrei Arlovski, of all people—Nelson has impressed a lot since his debut in the UFC.
Cheick Kongo is one of the most feared strikers in the heavyweight division. Being 6'4" and having an 82" reach is something to be scared about. So far, he is the only man to have survived the tornado that is Cain Velasquez and he's the only that actually came close to beating him.
A stand-up fight between Nelson and Kongo would prove to be more then interesting. Both men have a list of highlight real KO but Nelson is also a black belt in Gracie jiu-jitsu.
Who would win?
First Round, Fight No. 3: Cain Velasquez vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
The undefeated Cain Velasquez is no joke. Since arriving in the UFC, he's 6-0 and looking to become UFC heavyweight champion in the near future. With decisive wins over the likes of Jake O'Brien, Kongo, and Antonio Nogueira, Velasquez is a man to be feared.
Gabriel Gonzaga has suffered several setbacks in his UFC career, but he is not to be taken lightly. He's a black belt in BJJ and has deceiving striking abilities, as displayed against Mirko Cro Cop, Randy Couture, and Shane Carwin.
Cain is a NCAA Division I wrestler that would dominate the wrestling in a fight against Gonzaga. As far a submissions are concerned, ''Napao'' has the advantage, and it only takes one shot for Gonzaga to end a fight.
Who makes it to the next round?
First Round, Fight No. 4: Junior Dos Santos vs. Todd Duffee
Since his debut at UFC 90, Junior Dos Santos has been unstoppable. With all of his wins coming by either KO or TKO, he has established himself as a top contender for the heavyweight championship in a short amount of time. His brown belt in BJJ under the Nogueira brothers is something else to be afraid of when fighting this young man from Brazil.
Todd Duffee has only had one fight in the UFC, but what an impression he made. In his UFC debut, he recorded the fastest UFC KO in history, at only seven seconds. When you look at his past fights, you can't be surprised, as he finished all of his opponents within two rounds—all by KO or TKO.
Dos Santos and Duffee are surely the future of the division—maybe even future champions. One thing's for sure, these two men would have a brutal stand-up war that could potentially end in a flash.
There you have it, four very interesting fights in the first round of the tournament. Be sure to leave your votes and check in next week for the semifinals.
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