Roy Nelson made a huge statement by knocking out former UFC and Pride heavyweight champion Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira in the first round at UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“Big Country” had “Big Nog” hurt early, and on the ground in the first round, but Nogueira scrambled back to his feet, still wobbly and visibly hurt. Nelson didn’t go in for the finish and Nogueira decided to keep the fight standing.

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Even though Nogueira seemed to be recovering, Nelson was still throwing his signature overhand right, with one of them finally catching Big Nog on the button, putting him out. Big Country didn’t continue, when he saw Nogueira drop, and in his post-fight interview, Nelson called Minotauro a “pioneer” and “without him, I’m not here fighting.”

After a couple of losses, this was much needed win for Nelson, and could be in the title picture again after a couple more wins.

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In the co-main event, featherweight Clay Guida won a unanimous decision over Tatsuya Kawajiri and also on the main card Ryan LaFlare defeated John Howard and Ramsey Nijem took out Beneil Dariush.

Next week, heavyweights Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne will fight in the main event to see who will face Cain Velasquez for the title on UFC on Fox in Orlando.

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