Roy Nelson looks like anything but a fighter. He's more likely to be mistaken for a bloated truck driver than a mixed martial arts champion.
But don't tell that to any opponent who has felt his wrath.
The native Las Vegan raised his record to 12-2 and retained his International Fight League heavyweight championship with a first-round knockout of Fabiano Scherner at the Orleans Arena on Friday night.
Nelson executed two strong takedowns, then capitalized on the second by pounding his fists down on his opponent, causing the referee to stop the fight.
"I took him down, and he played it pretty tight in his guard," Nelson said. "We got back up and I took him down to a better position and was able to finish it."
The 6-foot Nelson, 261 pounds at Thursday's weigh-in, celebrated his win by going to the middle of the ring and rubbing his oversized belly.
"Tonight was my first time doing that. Everybody always comments, 'Roy, look at your belly,' " the Cimarron-Memorial High School graduate said. "You know what, everyone loves a normal person, and that's what I am."
Ryan Schultz retained his lightweight title, grinding out a win over Henderson resident John Gunderson.
Gunderson had a good fourth round, then nearly finished his opponent early in the fifth and final round, but Schultz held on for the victory, winning 49-46 on all three judges' cards.
Middleweight champion Matt Horwich was the only titleholder on the card to lose his belt, dropping a decision to Ryan McGivern. The challenger took over the fight in the fourth and fifth rounds to take away Horwich's title belt.
In team competition, Team Tompkins dropped two of its three matchups against Mario Sperry's World Class Fight Center.
Josh Haynes scored the only victory for Team Tompkins, comprised mostly of fighters from the Las Vegas-based Xtreme Couture gym. Haynes won a unanimous decision in a stand-up battle against Leopoldo Serao, who was roundly booed for his lack of activity.
"My opponent chose not to fight," Haynes said. "I take that as my warm-up fight in the IFL. The next guy I get in there with, I will rip his head off."
World Class' Rafael Diaz began the team competition with a relatively easy submission win over Santino Defranco.
Alexandre Ferreira finished Lew Polley of Team Tompkins in 20 seconds with a standing guillotine in the decisive team match.
Also, Las Vegan Dennis Davis lost by second-round submission to Ian Loveland, and Team Quest's Jake Ellenberger beat Pat Healy of Lion's Den by unanimous decision.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or (702) 224-5509.