After an underwhelming performance the last two fights, Roy Nelson is in danger of being kicked out of the UFC if he loses to Mirko Cro Cop in UFC 137 on Saturday.
Nelson has lost four of his last six fights, but he showed up on Saturday in better condition after he was roundly criticized for being out of shape against Frank Mir in UFC 130.
What Nelson has shown throughout the years is that he can take a beating, evidenced by the fact that he lasted all three rounds against Mir and Junior Dos Santos.
Nelson's boxing style isn't the most exact, but he does pack a powerful punch, particularly with his right hand. He also is facing a fighter in Mirko Cro Cop who is on his way out of the UFC and has lost his last two fights.
Cro Cop is an accomplished fighter, but he's obviously fallen off the last year or so. Also, at 37 years old, he's been accused of having a glass chin, and that's a label that has opponents licking their chops.
Cro Cop will be determined in this fight, and he has plenty of experience, but Nelson is fighting for his life in the UFC, and he likely won't be as poorly conditioned in the Octagon tonight.
You can expect Nelson to look to land big right hands on Cro Cop from the start and push the fight. He is in better condition, but it favors him if the fight gets started early and doesn't linger.
Cro Cop is still dangerous despite a fall in his fighting, and you let someone like him hang around long enough and it's only opening up a chance for you to get burned.
Nelson knows he needs to come out firing tonight if he's to stay in the UFC. In the end, it may come down to if he lands that big KO punch or not.
I think he will, and he'll keep his UFC career intact.