October 29, 2011
LAS VEGAS - Over the last 10 years, Mirko Filipovic put on dozens of tremendous shows for fans of mixed martials, so the ending at UFC 137 was fitting.
The 37-year-old brought it and tried to slug it out with Roy Nelson, but the younger fighter's well-rounded game took over in the second and he scored a TKO win at the 1:30 mark of third at UFC 137.
"Cro Cop" was one of the most feared fighters in the world during his time with PRIDE fighting in Japan. His run with the UFC was less than stellar, but the fans never lost their love for the Crotian kickboxer. Even tonight, the Las Vegas crowd went nuts anytime Cro Cop landed a punch or kick.
"This is going to be my final fight. I didn't make a goodbye victory," a sad Cro Cop told UFC analyst Joe Rogan. "Roy was just better tonight. I want to thank all you guys, especially the UFC fans."
Cro Cop (27-10, 4-6 UFC) was very much in the fight into the middle of the second round. Two minutes in, he rocked Nelson with a left and then got off 20-25 unanswered shots. Nelson covered up and survived, enabling him to score a very important takedown with 2:35 left.
Nelson quickly moved to side control where he worked for the dominant crucifix position. Once he got it with less than 45 seconds left, he pounded away on the helpless Cro Cop. Nelson, who came into this fight about 15-17 pounds less than previous fights, still has a good-sized belly. He used that to his advantage as he smothered the 37-year-0ld. Cro Cop survived the round, but when he rose to his feet his face was all marked up.
In the third, the Croatian's legs weren't there and he got drilled by a straight right. Cro Cop went into retreat mode. A little over minute into the round, he got dropped by a left. Nelson jumped on top, got his hooks in and flattened him out. He threw four or five bigbombs to the side of Cro Cop's head and it was stopped.
"It was awesome to fight with a legend. It's good just to be back in the 'W' column. Cro Cop can still tear it up," Nelson said. "My game plan was to strike and mix it up so you see a little bit of everything."
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