Roy Nelson remains the IFL heavyweight champion.

Roy “Big Country” Nelson defeats the “Hillbilly Heartthrob” Brad Imes to retain the IFL Heavyweight Title

by: Jack Bratcher

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (May 16, 2008) – In the early days of the UFC a big man by the name of Tank Abbott came on to the scene in a big way. He was big in stature and slinging big punches. Not since Tank’s heyday have I seen a big fella come on the MMA scene with such ferocity.

MMA is filled with fighters with the bodies of Adonis; ripped head to toe with so many muscles, their muscles have muscles. And most fans look up to these Herculean fighters in awe not only because of their fighting ability but because they keep their bodies in such great condition that most men and women envy them. But then along comes a fighter like “Big Country” Roy Nelson who I think most fans love not because they envy his physique but because the average guy can relate to him.

When Roy Nelson fights I can most easily vicariously live through him. In fact, I know of no other fighter that I resemble more in a physical way. And let me tell you, that gives me inspiration. It gives me hope. He’s the people’s champion. Most fans don’t look like a Tito Ortiz or a Frank Trigg. Most people have never found that level of commitment and dedication it takes to physically be in that great of shape. So when I see Roy Nelson as the Heavyweight Champion of the IFL I feel a certain satisfaction for us average dudes. Roy Nelson has done for fat men what Flava Flav did for crack heads.

With the “Hillbilly Heartthrob” and “Big Country” fighting each other I was really scared we could get the worst walk-in music of all time, but I survived. Brad Imes took this fight on a short two week notice. Brad was 11-4 going into this fight with two of his more recent wins coming by back-to-back gogoplatas. Roy Nelson’s record was 12-2 and was on a four fight win streak with his last loss coming by way of Ben Rothwell in a split decision back in April 2007.

If you were to look at Roy Nelson and Brad Imes side by side you could be very deceived. Someone unfamiliar with these men and unfamiliar with MMA would probably think Roy Nelson would get dominated by the much taller, much more well-defined Brad Imes. But they would be terribly wrong.

As the fight starts, Nelson immediately goes to work. Imes lands a jab and a knee. But Nelson is landing multiple shots. Brad Imes had no answer for Roy’s boxing. Brad tries to stand-toe-to-toe with Nelson, but Nelson is landing nearly every shot and backs Imes against the ropes. Imes falls through the ropes. The referee restarts them in the center of the ring. Nelson lands a big right hand that drops Imes, referee stops the fight and it’s a TKO at 2:55 of the first round. That’s all she wrote. Chalk one up for the big man.

Nelson immediately jumps up on the middle turnbuckle, sticks out his big Buddha belly and rubs it for the whole crowd to see. Then he goes to the next corner of the ring, jumps up, and repeats his trademark gesture. And you can’t help but smile. There’s something about this guy that you just gotta love. He’s good. He’s really good. And he’s big. He doesn’t look like an MMA Brad Pitt and that’s his charm. He’s the guy next door. The truckdriver. Maybe your garbage man. Nelson calls that big belly he’s got, his gas tank. One thing’s for sure; I’ll be wearing my “Big Country” Roy Nelson T-Shirt very proud for a long long time.

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