Mitrione will replace an injured Shane
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 finale, meeting Roy Nelson in
a heavyweight duel at the Dec. 15 event.
Promotion officials announced the news on Thursday afternoon. The
“TUF 16” finale takes place at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and
Casino in Las Vegas and airs live on the FX network. The event will
also showcase a lightweight pairing between former WEC champion
Varner and heavy-handed Melvin
Guillard, as well as a featherweight scrap pitting rising
Poirier against “TUF 12” winner Jonathan
Carwin’s withdrawal from the event was announced yesterday by UFC
President Dana White, who relayed that the former interim
heavyweight champion had suffered a serious knee injury.
Mitrione now steps in on just four weeks’ notice to meet Nelson,
his former cast mate on “TUF 10.” Since his time on the reality
show, Mitrione -- a former NFL player -- has gone 5-1 in the
Octagon, suffering his lone career defeat to Cheick Kongo
in a lackluster affair just over one year ago at UFC 137.
“Meathead” was expected to return to the cage on Dec. 29 to face
Fries at UFC 155, but De Fries will now receive a new
Nelson, meanwhile, has gone from “TUF 10” winner to “TUF 16” coach
in the span of three years. The former IFL heavyweight champion has
won two of his last three, most recently taking out EliteXC vet
Herman in just 51 seconds this past May at UFC 146. Prior to
that triumph, Nelson was outstruck by the larger Fabricio
Werdum to kick off 2012, dropping a unanimous decision to the
Brazilian on Feb. 4.