UFC 137: Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson in a Loser-Leaves-Town Match

Bryan LevickContributor IOctober 24, 2011

UNCASVILLE, CT - MAY 16: Roy Nelson (White Trunks) of the Lions Den celebrates after beating Brad Imes MilesTech Fighting System during their bout presented by the International Fighting League at the Mohegan Sun Arena May 16, 2008 in Uncasville, Connecticut.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Much like the old westerns that were so popular years ago, you would have two men meet in the center of town to determine which man left and which man stayed.

Roy Nelson and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic will meet in the center of the Octagon in Las Vegas to determine which heavyweight will live to see another day and which man will be shown the door.

Both fighters are on the wrong end of two-fight losing streaks. In the UFC that is enough to spell doom, so it is not hard to understand why the loser of this showdown will more than likely receive his pink slip in the days after Saturday night's pay-per-view.

While neither fighter can be mistaken for a title contender, they both bring a loyal following to the table and that can never be discounted, but a win is a win and a loss is a loss.

Cro Cop has a legion of fans dating back to his days in K-1 and Pride. Known for his devastating head kicks, Cro Cop has accumulated a career's worth of highlight reel knockouts. Unfortunately for him, he has failed to achieve the same success inside the Octagon that he did in Japan.

During two stints with the UFC, he has a 4-5 record with just one head kick knockout, which was thrown by Gabriel Gonzaga and taken by Cro Cop himself.

In his last two bouts, Cro Cop has really begun to show his age and the mileage on a body that has been through 38 mixed martial arts bouts and 23 kickboxing matches.

He was knocked out on the third round by a Frank Mir knee that thankfully put an end to what may have been the worst main event matchup in UFC history. At UFC 128 against Brendan Schaub, Filipovic was controlled by the younger, stronger fighter before being knocked out once again late in the third round.


Nelson is popular because he represents the everyday man more than he does a mixed martial artist fighting in the world's top organization. With a rotund belly, shaggy beard and an out of style mullet, Nelson embraces his image and endears himself to the average person.

Don't let his physique fool you: He possesses world-class grappling skills and for the most part has pretty good conditioning.

After winning Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter by knocking out Schaub in Round 1, Nelson went on to defeat Stefan Struve by first-round knockout. Next, He went lost a unanimous decision to current No. 1 heavyweight contender Junior dos Santos in a heavyweight title eliminator bout at UFC 117.

Nelson had become the first man to take Dos Santos the distance in his sixth career UFC bout. He also showed a ton of heart as he took a beating, but refused to go down or quit.

He would go on to face Frank Mir at UFC 130, and it was apparent right away that something was wrong. Within the first couple of minutes of the opening round, Nelson seemed spent and it was amazing that he was able to last the entire 15 minutes of the fight.

He lost via unanimous decision.

Two days after the bout, Nelson learned that he had walking pneumonia and spent the next month and a half recuperating.

UFC president Dana White took Nelson to task for not taking his career serious enough and trying to get into better shape. After fighting like this his entire career, one would think it would be tough to teach an old dog new tricks. He had talked about getting in contact with Mike Dolce and even mentioned the possibility of attempting to make the cut down to the light heavyweight division.

There has been no recent discussion on that matter. One would have to assume it may be too late to make a serious run at making the 205-pound limit.

At 37 and 35 years old respectively, time is not on either Cro Cop's or Nelson's side.

The new breed of heavyweights are bigger, stronger and faster than both men. The opportunities for either fighter to be anything more than a special attraction went out the window a long time ago.

But with a loyal fan base, as long as they can gather a couple of wins here or there, the UFC will keep them around. With so much on the line this Saturday night, here is to hoping we see an exciting fight between two guys just looking to put on a show.