According to Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie, Roy Nelson has absorbed 555 significant strikes as a UFC fighter, the most of any heavyweight fighter in the organization’s history.
Why does that matter?
Because Roy Nelson, who has received 395 significant strikes to the head, was only knocked out once during his entire UFC career. And before a surging Hunto made that happen last September, a perpetually conscious Roy had been slapped around by big league sluggers such as Mirko Cro-Cop, Junior dos Santos, Cheick Kongo, Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier. (http://mmajunkie.com/2015/03/ufc-185-pre-fight-facts-hendricks-and-brown-boast-impressive-stat-sheets)
Underneath his squirrel’s nest beard, Roy has a phenomenal chin. Unless, of course, you believe Mark Hunt stole his mandibular soul. But assuming his jawline hasn’t become disenchanted, he is clearly the man most capable of surviving punches in his upcoming fight against Alistair Overeem. Nonetheless, according to sports book Bovada today, Alistair is a (-210) favorite against a (+170) Roy. Sure, Nelson has been mostly on a slide since 2013, but Overeem has also lost three of his last five fights. And all three losses came by way of KO or technical knockout, at the hands of Ben Rothwell, Travis Browne and Antonio Silva.
Is Overeem the better fighter? He is certainly more aesthetically pleasing, and that may go a long way for bettors whose evolutionary instincts compel them to wager on the most swole man. But as an underdog, it’s hard not to consider a strong striker who can take one short of 395 significant strikes to the head and keep standing.