It's week nine of "The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights," and it's time for the quarterfinal round to begin.
Team Rashad members are going to have to face each other quickly, as seven members of the team made it to the final eight compared to just one for Team Rampage. And while Evans basks in the glory of his accomplishment, he also realizes the difficulty in preparing his team members to square off.
Evans holds a team meeting and decides that the team will continue to work on conditioning together, but he and the staff won't be implementing gameplans. Evans feels it's the only way not to show any favoritism.
Justin Wren, who faces Roy Neslon in the opening quarterfinal, admits working out at the same time as his opponent is a little odd, but he does take the chance to scope out his competition.
Nelson playfully offers to advise Wren on any techniques he may need for the fight.
The attention quickly shifts to Matt Mitrione, and the news doesn't seem good. Mitrione says he's still experiencing some complications from his earlier fight with Scott Junk, though his team offers little support. Wren and Darrill Schoonover both think more is being made of Mitrione's condition than it deserves, though MMAjunkie.com blogger Brendan Schaub believes a concussion may be causing the issues.
With a potential injury in the works, a familiar scene plays out: Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson hoping that this is his shot at a return to the tournament.
UFC president Dana White interjects to state that the coaches will determine a suitable replacement if Mitrione isn't able to go, so Slice apparently isn't a shoe-in.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and assistant coach Tiki Ghosn admit they'd really like to get Slice back in the mix, and they continue to work with the former streetfighter as if he's preparing to fight again. Slice calls himself "a fight contractor," and says he's working on putting more tools in his belt.
Roy Nelson VS. Justin Wren
Referee Josh Rosenthal gets the action underway. Wren starts out the aggressor, pumping out jabs. However, Nelson moves away well. Wren steps up the striking volume one minute in, and Nelson clinches in response.
Nelson pushes Wren against the fence and delivers a few knees to the legs. The action is slow, and Rosenthal calls for a restart.
Wren again moves forward behind his hands, and a few of the shots connect. Wren has Nelson against the cage but elects to move back to the center and reset.
Both fighters continue to exchange brief flurries in moderately paced action. Wren appears to get the better of it, though the difference is minimal.
Nelson lands a low kick, and as time closes on the opening round he begins to find his range. Wren chases as the round wears on, and Nelson continues to back away and fire counters. It's a close opening round as the second begins.
Both fighters get advice from their teammates in the corner, as Evans has stayed true to his word of not coaching. The second frame opens with a touch of gloves.
Wren opens aggressively, but Nelson is able to circle away and counter. The pattern repeats, though Wren mixes in a few leg kicks that score. Both fighters continue to wing heavy punches, though the strikes come only in spots.
Wren shoots in, but Nelson easily shrugs it off easily. Wren slips briefly, but Nelson can't capitalize.
Both fighters' arms look a bit weary halfway through the round. Each fighter takes turns swinging wildly, though neither truly connects well.
Nelson appears the fresher of the two fighters, and he steps up the attack in the closing seconds. Wren tries to answer but can't. It's another close round, but it doesn't earn the "sudden victory" conclusion that most everyone in the gym feels it deserves. Instead, White comes in and announces that Nelson has won the fight by majority decision.
* Roy Nelson def. Justin Wren via majority decision (20-18, 19-19, 20-18).
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