Walking into the octagon at UFC 166 in Houston, Texas, Daniel Cormier was set to put his undefeated record on the line against fellow heavyweight Roy “Big Country” Nelson.
Towards the end of the first minute of the first round, Cormier got a high-crotch takedown and immediately locked up a cradle. Cormier displayed good body control by keeping Nelson down, but was unable to do any significant damage on “Big Country.” Nelson attempted a kimura but Cormier had none of it. Nelson managed to get back to his feet but was met with an aggressive Cormier bullying him against the cage, softening Nelson up with uppercuts and knees to the body. Cormier accidentally landed a knee to the groin and the ref briefly separated the fight. Both heavyweight fighters showcased excellent hand speed as they exchanged combinations to finish up the first round; with Cormier seemingly getting the better of the exchanges.
Round two saw both fighters exchanging punching combinations, with Cormier occasionally shooting in for the takedown and Nelson successfully defending Cormier’s shots. Cormier worked for a high-crotch takedown, but Nelson immediately gets back up to his feet. Cormier continued to bully Nelson to the cage, continuously throwing uppercuts and knees against the fatigued Nelson. After the fighters got back to the center of the octagon, it became apparent that Nelson was having trouble dealing with the speed of Cormier, as Cormier was evading Nelson’s punches while landing hard shots of his own.
Going into round three, Nelson knew he was down on the judge’s scorecards. He began pushing forward trying to launch an offense against his opponent, but Cormier’s speed proved to be too much for “Big Country” as he avoided most of Nelson’s punches, and constantly peppered him with quick combinations. The remainder of the fight ended with more of the same; Cormier using his speed and timing to outpoint the slower Nelson.
Although the fight wasn’t very exciting, Cormier did enough to earn the judge’s favor in a unanimous decision victory.