In the first of two big main card Heavyweight fights, Roy Nelson (15-6; 2-2 UFC) meets Mirko Filipovic (27-9-2, 1 NC; 4-5 UFC) at UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz. This is the third fight on the PPV portion of the show. Roy Nelson is currently ranked #15 in the Heavyweight USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings, and Cro Cop is ranked #25. The PPV begins at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
This is a battle between two Heavyweights with real knockout power. CroCop's ability to knock his opponents out is the stuff of legend, though it's been quite some time since we have seen his full destructive power. Nelson started as a grappler, but in his UFC run has become more of a one punch KO fighter who looks to connect a right hand to end the fight. Nelson has options here, but this may be decided by who can land that KO shot first.
How do these two stack up?
Nelson: 35 years old | 6'0" | 73" reach
Cro Cop: 37 years old | 6'2" | 73" reach
What have these two done recently?
Nelson: L - Frank Mir (UD) | L - Junior dos Santos (UD) | W - Stefan Struve (KO)
Cro Cop: L - Brendan Schaub (KO) | L - Frank Mir (KO) | W - Pat Barry (Sub)
How did these two get here?
Mirko CroCop was, at one time, one of the most feared men in the sport. His highlight reel is non-stop brutality. But his near 5 year run in the UFC has been a disappointment for fans of the K-1 and Pride veteran. He's just 4-5 in the UFC, with those losses looking increasingly brutal. He comes into this fight off back to back nasty KO losses. It's tempting to say that with a loss here he is done, but I feel like we've been saying that pretty much since the moment Gonzaga head kicked him back at UFC 70. And yet here we are, 70 UFC's later and it's CroCop still fighting on the main card while Gonzaga has left the company. But truly, how many more fighters moving up the ranks can make their name off of a CroCop KO?
Roy Nelson is the season 10 winner of The Ultimate Fighter, although he came into the show with significantly more experience than most fighters in recent seasons. He started his UFC career with two good KO wins, but then ran into a brick wall against Junior dos Santos. Nelson showed a lot of heart and a powerful chin there, despite the loss. He comes in here off another loss, this time to Frank Mir. Nelson has built a fanbase partly around his girth, but is he really in the shape that will give him the best success as a fighter? He desperately needs a win here to prove he is a relevant contender, not a sideshow.
Why should you care?
It's either a miraculous Cro Cop win, or Nelson reestablishing himself as an upper level name, likely via big KO. The first option would be incredible, the second depressing for many fans, but both merit viewing.
More UFC 137 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.
UFC 137 Weigh In Video: BJ Penn and Nick Diaz Almost Come To Blows - Matthew Roth
UFC 137: Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 137 Penn vs Diaz: Staff Predictions
UFC 137 Weigh-In Video and Results - Tim Burke
UFC 137: Cheick Kongo vs. Matt Mitrione Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 137: Scott Jorgensen vs. Jeff Curran Dissection - Dallas Winston
Judo Chop: B.J. Penn's Back Control - Ben Thapa
UFC 137: The Sober Reality of Nick Diaz's Continued Presence in MMA - Leland Roling
UFC 137: Dana White Video Blog, Part 2 - Matthew Roth
Judo Chop: Nick Diaz's Ground Game - Ben Thapa
UFC 137: George Roop vs. Hatsu Hioki Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 137 Striking Breakdown: Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic - Fraser Coffeen
UFC 137 Press Conference Recap: Jon Anik to Broadcast Booth, UFC on Fox Undercard on Facebook and Fox.com - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 137 Video: B.J. Penn Challenges Cesar Gracie, Admits to Being 'Hookwinked' By Him - Tim Burke
UFC 137: Roy Nelson 'I'd Have to Cut Off A Leg To Make 205' - Matthew Roth
Bad Boy Presents Bloody Elbow Radio - Episode 92: UFC 137 Preview - Matt Bishop
UFC 137 Video: Nick Diaz Goes In-Depth About Press Conference Fiasco, Not Loving Fighting - Tim Burke
UFC 137: The Card That Could Have Been and the PPV Repercussions - Matthew Roth
UFC 137 Video: B.J. Penn Talks Fighting Nick Diaz and Future Title Shots - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 137: B.J. Penn Explains Lack of Hype for Nick Diaz Fight - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 137: Nick Diaz Wishes He'd Stuck to Boxing Plans - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 137: George Roop Discusses Bout With Hatsu Hioki, Death of Shawn Tompkins - Tim Burke
UFC 137 Video: Danny Downes Fighter Diary In Preparation for Ramsey Nijem - Anton Tabuena
UFC 137: Tyson Griffin vs. Bart Palaszewski Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz Betting Lines - Tim Burke
UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz Countdown Video - Tim Burke
UFC 137: Dennis Siver vs. Donald Cerrone Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 137: Matt Mitrione's Rapid Rise the Exception, Not the Rule - Leland Roling
UFC 137 Roundtable: Analyzing Nick Diaz's Chances Against B.J. Penn
UFC 137: Nick Diaz Discusses Looking Up to B.J. Penn, Gameplanning - Tim Burke
UFC 137: Breaking Down the Striking of Matt Mitrione - Fraser Coffeen
UFC 137: B.J. Penn Not Offended By Nick Diaz At All - Tim Burke
UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz - Best Bets for Fight of the Night - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 137: Donald Cerrone's Unlikely Run May Land Him in Title Contention - Leland Roling
UFC 137: Facebook Card Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 137: Dana White Video Blog, Part 1 - Tim Burke
UFC 137: Cesar Gracie - If Nick Diaz Finishes B.J. Penn, He Should Get GSP Next - Tim Burke