Meet TUF 22 Canadian Hopeful Kyle Nelson

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565 Official tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter are set to take place on April 27th in Las Vegas and there will be no shortage on Canadian talent for the 155lb and 170lb selection process. Leading up to this audition of a lifetime, I’ll be featuring a recurring article on MMAOddsBreaker where I put the spotlight on those Canadian fighters making the trip down to Sin City later this month. Name: Kyle “The Monster” Nelson Age: 23 Height: 5’11 Weight Class: Featherweight (competing at Lightweight) Record: 6-0 (1 KO/TKO, 2 Sub, 3 Dec.) Fighting Out Of: Huntsville, Ontario (House of Champions/Para Bellum) Last Fight: Won via submission over Ainsley Robinson (SCC 2.0) May 2014 Fun Fact: Setup a GoFundMe page ahead of the TUF tryouts. You can donate here  Growing up in Huntsville, Ontario which has a population of around 19,000 people, Nelson had a rather interesting influence when it came to his involvement in combat sports. “It all started with the movie Rocky.” Nelson told MMAOddsBreaker. “First time I that I watched Rocky, I was four years old and then I decided to be a boxer.” It wasn’t until he was 14-years old that he decided to give boxing a try. But there was just one problem, Huntsville did have any boxing gyms around him. At this point, Nelson admits he didn’t even know what mixed martial arts was all about. Little did he know, “The Monster” began his first foray into sport. “Where I live and grew up in [Huntsville, Ontario] there was no boxing clubs anywhere close. What I did find was a kickboxing and jiu-jitsu club just about half an hour south of Huntsville. So I started doing that and again this is about 10 years ago so it was right around 2005, right around the time the first [season] of The Ultimate Fighter came out. I hadn’t even heard of mixed martial arts until that first season came out and then I started watching that [and] realized that’s exactly what I was doing, while I was doing kick boxing and jiu-jitsu. So I thought I would just focus on that. ” It was that inaugural season of the popular reality series that became his biggest influence competing in the sport. While many fans and fighters will talk about fighters like Royce Gracie, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua or BJ Penn as their inspirations, for Nelson it was the coaches and castmembers of Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter. “When I first started, obviously it was with the first Ultimate Fighter. I started with Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell.[and] again I didn’t know a whole lot about it. Of course I liked all the guys that were on the first season, so kind of I followed Forrest Griffin and Diego Sanchez throughout their careers. Definitely Randy Couture is one guy that I’ve looked up to, the way he was able to continue on in the sport. Even after he lost some of his strength and speed but he was able to come back and win some pretty big fights.” Ahead of his tryouts for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter on April 27th, Nelson has been splitting his training at House of Champions in Stoney Creek, ON and Para Bellum in Oakville, ON with the Canadian standouts Alex Ricci and former WSOF title challenger Josh Hill. Along with the added benefit of training with top notch talent, Nelson also gained some insight into the selection process for TUF, as Hill was a member of the Season 18 cast. “It’s been nice working with Josh Hill because he obviously was on the show a couple of seasons ago. He knows all the ins and outs, how the whole tryouts go and what life is like on the show and everything. So it’s been nice to get his feedback. He was able to break it down for me, step by step. So I know exactly what to look for and I can start customizing my training, so I that I can look my best in the time allowed to demonstrate [my skillet] for the tryouts.” Along with the added challenge of actually making it into the competition, Nelson has endured his own battle outside the cage. At just 23-years old, Nelson not only trying to support himself on route to the tryouts, but he’s also trying to support his wife and newborn son. As a result, the Huntsville native has setup a GoFundMe page to help with some of the financial challenges and making it to the tryouts in Las Vegas later this month. “It’s been a long road in professional MMA for me.” Nelson explained. “I’ve worked as much as I’ve can while trying to keep up the training that professional MMA requires, you know you don’t just want to go in there and get beat up. With that in mind, I haven’t been able to work a whole lot, so again I’m working part time pretty steady, so not a whole lot of money. Then my wife and I just had our first son back in September, that’s a whirlwind of bills, crying, craziness and no sleep. So without trying to hinder my family too much, I would like to try get down [to Vegas] to try out for The Ultimate Fighter, so that’s why I setup the GoFuneMe page.” So far, the fundraising project has been a success, primarily because of the support Nelson has received from the community in Huntsville. While he hasn’t reached his overall goal just yet, he remains optimistic he’ll be able to make it to the tryouts. “We’re getting pretty close; my hometown of Huntsville has been super supportive.  One of my local sponsors [Moose Delaney’s Sports Bar & Grill] here in town they held a fundraiser. We had pretty much all of Huntsville out there. Moose Delaney’s donated a portion of their proceeds and we had a silent auction. We had a lot of local businesses donate stuff for the silent auction.  So it went pretty well, we’re getting pretty close, to the assumed amount of money to get down there and back, and maybe even eat while I’m down there.” One of the factors in Nelson’s financial challenges has been lack of fights. He hasn’t competed since May of last year, because he’s had a very difficult time getting fights in the province of Ontario. “It’s been impossible. We’ve been trying for about a year straight now [and] we can’t get very much in Canada. We looked at expanding over into the UK and we actually had couple offers on some stuff but nothing quite worked out. So we might have to start looking further, maybe Japan, the States.  But there are so many fighters already down in The States, so to ship me down isn’t in their best interest.” Nelson has competed primarily as a featherweight and despite some cage rust feels like he’s in a great position to make it through the selection process on April 27th. “I don’t think I’ll have any problems getting back in there and mixing it up. I’ve been in [the gym] pretty much every week.  I think 155 pounds is going to be perfect for me. With my training regimen now and the way I got everything worked out, I usually walk around at 185 pounds, so it’s a pretty big cut [to featherweight]. I’ve got it down to a science now, so it works and I can cut the weight and fight at my full potential.” The House of Champions product believes his perfect 6-0 record and the fact he’s just 23-years old will give him a leg up over the other competitors. The way he sees it, the UFC would be making a good investment if they selected him for the show. “I think with The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC almost invests in the fighters to order put them on TV. When then invest in a guy like me who’s 23 years old, I’m going to be fighting for at least another 10 maybe 15 years, they’re going to get a lot of return on that. Of course when I win the show and all that, then beat up a couple people up in the UFC and win the belt. They’re going to get a big return on the money they invested on me now.” With so many competitors coming from all areas around the world for the TUF 22 tryouts, it’s often difficult for even the most talented fighters to separate themselves from their peers. Nelson admits he’ll just be himself, but also added he has some other plans to stand out from the rest of the combatants. “I’m going to touch up my hair a little bit, make it a little flashy. I’m not necessarily a pretty boy or anything, but I’m going to try and at least look good when I go in there. I know my skill even with my little or allotted time being able to demonstrate them. I know they’re going to impress some people. Working on being a little bit more vocal [to try and] separate myself from the crowd.” You can follow Kyle on Twitter @The__Monster and you can donate to his GoFundMe page for the TUF tryouts

Written by James Lynch

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