MMAFrenzy’s coverage of UFC 137 continues as we continue our preview of Saturday’s main card with a heavyweight scrap between Roy Nelson and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
Stay tuned to MMAFrenzy.com each day this week as we take a look at new fight from UFC 137, leading up to the main event showdown between welterweight contenders BJ Penn and Nick Diaz.
Roy Nelson vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
Keys for Nelson (BR) – How interesting. We could possibly be seeing both fighters for the last time in the UFC.
Cro Cop has stated this will be his last fight before leaving the UFC. Meanwhile, Roy Nelson is sporting a two fight loss streak. If he loses, there is a chance he is cut from the organization. That has to have been on the mind of Big Country as he has trained for this fight.
As for the fight itself, Nelson knows where he is at his best in regards to fighting the Croatian legend, and that is lying on that gray mat with all those logos.
Cro Cop’s career has been a disappointment since joining the UFC, as he has been unable to thoroughly show that striking he became famous for. In fact, his only stoppage victory in the last two years that was non-doctor induced came from a submission, not a knockout, with his rear naked choke of Pat Barry at UFC 115.
Nelson, meanwhile, has similarly seen a slump over the last year or so. It is certainly not worthy of being ridiculed in losing to Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir, and he went to decision with both of them. Cro Cop’s striking is nowhere near Dos Santos’ nowadays, and Mir is far more versatile than him, so Nelson won’t be worried about as many scenarios.
While it may seem to fathom, Nelson could be best served actually pushing the pace. He has the conditioning, and Cro Cop does not do well under pressure inside the octagon. If he so chooses, taking Cro Cop down, where he has always seemingly been lost, Nelson should have his way with him.
But don’t be surprised if Nelson is able to knock out the former knock out artist. Nelson has just as much power, and can defeat him on the feet or via ground and pound.
Keys for “Cro Cop” (Chris Leslie) - Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is at the end of his run with the UFC in this fight. Mirko actually asked for his release after his loss to Schaub but it was suggested he retire then. Filipovic had his eyes set on possible career ending fights in Japan or Europe, so he took this fight to finish out his contract with the UFC. That’s about it.
Truth is, Mirko is always dangerous. While he has never been the same feared fighter since losing to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70, his strikes still can level his opponents if you do not protect yourself.
Cro Cop has actually been in his last two fights to Frank Mir and Brendan Schaub before getting crushed by a counter strike while pressing to win. Nelson will likely look to take the Croatian to the mat or cage early and often in this fight. So Cro Cop will need to use a good sprawl on shots and circle out of clinches to keep this fight at striking distance.
The biggest factor in this fight is whether Cro Cop will come to fight or just fight to get out of the UFC. If he is focused, he is trouble. If he is merely concerned about leaving the UFC, then do not expect much from this fight.
UFC 137 Previews: