The UFC announced that the 16th season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ will be coached by Heavyweights Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson.
This means that, barring any serious injuries or issues, we should see the two men square off in December of this year, for the finals of the 16th season of the UFC’s reality TV series. On paper, it is a good match, and one that should see the winner imch closer to the title picture in the heavyweight division. The lines are not out yet, and it will be interesting to see where they open, since there are a good number of reasons favoring both men. Let us take a look.
Carwin is the big X factor, and definitely I will want to see him work and see what his mindset is like during the reality show. He is talented and can absorb punishment, and is the only man to really extend UFC champion Junior Dos Santos the distance.
But he will have been off for 18 months, he is still recovering from serious neck and back operations, and he will be a month short of his 38th birthday. He has dropped two in a row in the UFC, and is facing a serious need for a win.
Nelson is coming off a fast KO win his last time out, but seems to have topped off in terms of growth. He has not been able to break through and establish himself in the title picture, usually fighting to the level of his opponent and losing to more talented fighters.
How the reality show develops will play into this match as well. I see Nelson, who won the TUF Reality show as a contestant, easily slipping into the joker/prankster role. Carwin seems more stoic, and the long sixteen week taping is definitely enough to get under a guy’s skin and wear on the mind.
I predict that despite the long lay off, that Carwin will open a favorite in this fight. From there, the devil is in the details, but luckily we have the TUF series to watch the progress of both men before their battle. Early on, if Nelson opens the favorite, I might be inclined to lay some money out on Carwin.