Later tonight, Roy Nelson takes on Stefan Struve in his first UFC fight not related to the The Ultimate Fighter season he won last December. Nelson, who stands somewhere around 6′ tall, will be at a definitive height disadvantage against the 6′ 11″ Struve. It’s a factor nearly every opponent Struve faces has to consider, and Nelson says he has prepared for it by working on his vertical jump and picking fights on the basketball court.

“The latest thing that I’ve been doing is just going to the basketball court and picking fights,” Nelson told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show on Wednesday. “That’s really about it. For the most part, it’s just one of those things. You just have to get through his reach and then hopefully you can do some damage. If you can get to the floor you can get to the floor but if you can keep it standing and just get past the reach, I’ve done it with Brad Imes before so I think I’ll be ok.”

Of course, he’s kidding…I think. While it’s true Nelson will have to elevate his punches higher than normal, I’m not so sure this one’s going to stay standing for too long. Struve’s length certainly makes things a little more complicated for his opponents on the feet, but where he really like to use it to his advantage is on the ground. In Struve’s 19 career wins, 14 of those have come by way of submission. Nelson is no stranger to the ground game either, so if either decides to take the fight there, I don’t think the other will have any problem turning the fight into a jiu-jitsu match. Of course, their strengths may always cancel each other out and we get to see Roy’s vertical jump after all.

Either way, Roy expects to win tonight, and he’s hoping it will get his name in the mix in the UFC heavyweight division.

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