Nelson inches closer to UFC heavyweight title shot


It has been quite a year for Roy Nelson.

The Las Vegan, 36, welcomed his first son, Jaxson, to the world and has strung together three consecutive first-round knockout victories in the Ultimate Fighting Championship to put himself squarely in the mix for the heavyweight title.

None of his three opponents in the last 12 months — Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo — has lasted three minutes with Nelson, who had lost three of four fights before the streak. The Cimarron-Memorial product said there was no magic formula for the turnaround.

“Just putting in the hard work and trying to make sure you’re always healthy I think is the biggest key,” he said.

After dispatching of Kongo at UFC 159 in Newark, N.J., last week, Nelson lobbied for a title shot. It appeared that wasn’t in the cards when UFC president Dana White announced the next opponent for Nelson was likely to be Mark Hunt or Daniel Cormier.

Nelson was listening a bit more closely than most, however.

“If you go back to the presser, he actually said I would fight Hunt, Cormier or get a title shot,” Nelson said.

He wants to fight whoever emerges with the belt from this month’s heavyweight title match between Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Cain Velasquez.

“Anything is possible in MMA, but the way I look at it, just give me one shot at whoever wins between Cain and Bigfoot,” Nelson said. “I’ll make it worth the fans’ while and the UFC’s.”

■ PERALTA SUSPENDED — UFC featherweight Robbie Peralta was suspended for six months and ordered to complete a treatment program after he tested positive for marijuana metabolites following a loss to Akira Corassani on the UFC on Fuel TV 9 card on April 6 in Sweden.

The Californian, 27, issued a statement apologizing to his “friends, family, fans, the UFC, his coaches and team.”

“I’ve been going through some emotional things these past six months. When my grandma passed away in March, that’s when I made the dumb choice of smoking. We had the funeral, and (I) had a few drinks and started making bad choices. I regretted it the next day, but I’m not here to make excuses for myself. I did what I did,” the statement read.

“It’s good in a way so that I never make that mistake again. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth my career. I have a lot of things going for me right now, and I just have to realize that. All of this is new for me, being in the public eye, this whole thing. I’m trying to get adjusted to it little by little and just keep moving on.”

■ MAYORGA WINS DEBUT — Retired professional boxer Ricardo Mayorga won his MMA debut in Nicaragua over the weekend, but there was plenty of controversy.

Mayorga escaped a triangle choke late in the second round with what appeared to be an illegal knee to the spine of Wesley Tipper. The foul was not called, and Mayorga was awarded the victory when Tipper couldn’t continue.

Mayorga also showed up at weigh-ins at 175.9 pounds, far above the limit for what was originally supposed to be a 155-pound fight.

■ TYSON ON MMA — Mike Tyson was one of the biggest stars the boxing world has ever seen, but he has grown into more of an MMA fan in his retirement years.

Tyson is often spotted at UFC events and is a friend of UFC president Dana White.

Last week, he spoke to ESPN before the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero boxing match. Tyson offered a comparison of the sports, focusing largely on the fact that MMA fighters appear to love what they do more.

“It has to be a passion. That’s the problem with boxing: There’s no passion,” Tyson said. “(Boxers) want to be record producers (or) rappers. In MMA, you see that passion. Georges St. Pierre, this is all he wants to do. That’s why he’s so successful.”

Tyson might not be aware that St. Pierre is getting ready to film a role in the new “Captain America” sequel, but that’s beside the point. He went on to say one advantage MMA has is the perception that the sport’s athletes get in less trouble outside the cage.

“I think there’s room for (both sports), but boxing just has too many black eyes. It doesn’t have a good image,” Tyson said. “In MMA, even though people are fighting, they have a good image. Very few of them get into tragic troubles where they’re beating people up and stuff.

“I love MMA and love boxing, but I’m always watching the MMA stuff.”

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

 

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