Vintage Cro Cop Lights Up Roy Nelson Up With His Trademark Cemetery Kick

Vintage Cro Cop Lights Up Roy Nelson Up With His Trademark Cemetery Kick

Mirko Cro Cop and Roy “Big Country” Nelson faced off tonight at Bellator 216, in a rematch of their first bout back in 2011.

A lot has changed for Mirko Cro Cop since the first time he and Roy Nelson competed with each other.

Credit: UFC

When Big Country got the TKO win in the third round at UFC 137, most assumed that the then 37-year-old Cro Cop had reached the end of his time in the sport. Following that fight, Cro Cop left the UFC, ostensibly to bow out with a final retirement bout in kickboxing, but instead, nearly eight years later, the Croatian is still fighting.

Credit: MMAJunkie

Now aged 44, Cro Cop has actually fought a further 11 times in MMA prior to tonight’s bout and had lost just once, including a brief return to the UFC. During that streak, he even won four fights during the space of a week, winning all of them to be crowned the 2016 RIZIN Open-Weight Grand Prix Champion.

The former PRIDE stalwart also returned to his first sport, kickboxing, fighting 8 times between 2012 and 2014. The highlight of that streak saw him defeat Jarrell Miller, who was recently announced to be facing boxing’s World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua in June.

Meanwhile, since his first encounter with Cro Cop, Big Country would fight another 14 times in the UFC going 6-8, before signing with Bellator in 2017. Nelson came into tonight’s bout looking to rebound from a two-fight losing streak, having crashed out of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix at the hands of Matt Mitrione, then was most recently knocked out by Sergei Kharitonov at Bellator 207.

The rematch was originally booked for Bellator 200, but Cro Cop was forced to pull out of the fight citing an injury. Luckily though, this time both men made it into the cage injury-free and the two legends could finally run it back.

Cro Cop was able to chip away at Nelson with some big low kicks, while “Big Country” fired back with some timely punches, namely uppercuts.

After fifteen minutes of action, the judges in attendance awarded Mirko Cro Cop with the unanimous decision victory.

Check out how the pros reacted to tonight’s Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson rematch at Bellator 216 below.