Roy “Big Country” Nelson might be fighting for his job this weekend at UFC 137, and he’ll be doing it against dangerous veteran Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, whose back is also against the wall. Each coming off of two straight losses, the pair will square off this Saturday night in what is very likely a “loser leaves town” match; with the stakes as high as they are, Nelson is preparing himself for a sharp and effective Cro Cop.
Big Country told UFC.com recently that he’s expecting Cro Cop to show up in vintage form, displaying the kind of fearsome, technical striking that once had him cast as the terror of the heavyweight division.
“I think Mirko is going to stay on the outside and pick his shots with his left hand and look for his kicks,” said Nelson. “That’s what Cro Cop is really good at. He sucks you into a lullaby and you put your guard down and then BAM that’s where the kick or the punch is. For me, I have to be patient and look for my shots or look for the takedowns. I have to punch him in the face, but I have to be patient. Mirko is a patient man and he waits for that one mistake and he capitalizes on it.”
The Ultimate Fighter 10 winner carries a healthy respect for Cro Cop’s striking arsenal, but is fully confident in his own proficiency in mixing it up on the feet and won’t only be looking to ply his trade on the mat.
“He is one of the most feared strikers when it comes to match-ups, but one thing that people don’t like about fighting me is that I’m not afraid to bang with you,” said the 35-year-old. “You not only have to be the better striker, but you have to see who hits harder. Another thing is that I have a good ground game. It’s not a pure classic ‘grappler vs. striker’ because this grappler is willing to bang with you.”
UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz will take place on October 29 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Don’t forget to check back on FightLine that night for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.