Roy Nelson Sleeps Dillon Cleckler with Crushing KO in Gamebred Bareknuckle Main Event

Roy Nelson and Dillon Cleckler, Gamebred Bareknuckle
Roy Nelson and Dillon Cleckler, Gamebred Bareknuckle Credit: Youtube/Gamebred FC

Odd as it might seem, Roy Nelson was considered a long shot by many in the Gamebred Bareknuckle main event in Sunrise, Florida on Friday.

“Big Country,” 46, was paired up with Dillon Cleckler, five his years junior and with far less mileage in comparison to The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner, who spent years plying his trade for the UFC and Bellator MMA.

Nelson hadn’t fought since 2020, and hadn’t won a fight since 2017, though the judges were at least partially to blame on that front.

No judges were required at the FLA Arena on Saturday, however. Nelson made sure of that. And, quite frankly, so too did Clecker.

From the outset, Nelson was clearly the fighter more willing to grapple, almost immediately pursuing a takedown. Cleckler on the other hand seemed content to stand and trade with a man known for his iron chin and granite right hand.

To his credit, Cleckler landed several solid shots on Nelson, at times putting him off balance. An early leg kick also landed on Big Country with an audible crack; more of those might hamper the rotund Nelson’s movement. But as the minutes ticked away in the opening round, Nelson seemed to find his range. He landed a number of counters on the taller Clecker, then closed in for what turned out to be the kill.

A left hand whiffed for Nelson, but his ever-dangerous right hand followed. It connected clean, and Cleckler went down in a heap. Nelson was already unloading a follow-up as Cleckler rolled, dazed. The ref hurried over to make the save; Cleckler, when he regained his senses, would likely regret standing and trading with Roy Nelson.

To the many who had written him off ahead of Friday’s fight, Nelson said following the bout that “I’m not a sheep, I don’t listen to what everybody says. I do what I want to do.”

Jorge Masvidal, on hand despite some obvious family concerns, floated a potential fight for Nelson against any of Alex Nicholson, Fabricio Werdum, or even Junior Dos Santos moving forward, though it’s not certain where any of those free agents, or even Nelson, will land next.

Official Result: Roy “Big Country” Nelson def. Dillon Cleckler by TKO (right hand), Round 1, 3:24


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