A slimmed down Roy Nelson
looked good against Mirko Cro Cop
Saturday night at UFC 137
, controlling throughout and winning by third-round TKO. But the big news came afterward, when the legendary Cro Cop announced his retirement.
"I knew before this fight this was going to be my farewell fight," Cro Cop said.
Nelson began his own post-fight comments by praising Cro Cop, the former Pride star who has had a fairly disappointing run in the UFC
"Everybody give it up for Cro Cop," Nelson said. "He's given us in MMA
, as a fighter, as a fan, so much."
Cro Cop's retirement is what everyone will be talking about, but we should also note that Nelson looked as good as he's ever looked in his MMA career. Nelson came inside and took Cro Cop down within the first minute of the first round, and although Cro Cop did a good job of tying Nelson up on the ground and getting back to his feet at the first opportunity, what was most interesting about the first round is that Nelson actually looked more comfortable than Cro Cop during the striking exchanges. Nelson deserved to win the first.
At the start of the second Nelson landed a hard punch but then Cro Cop exploded with a brutal exchange against the fence, and all Nelson could do was cover up. However, Nelson survived the barrage and eventually managed to take Cro Cop down and get on top in side control. With about a minute to go in the second round Nelson got a mounted crucifix and began to rain down punches, and all Cro Cop could do was weather the storm and wait for the round to end -- a round Nelson had clearly won, despite Cro Cop's strong start.
In the third Cro Cop looked like he had lost the will to fight: Nelson landed a big right hand, and when Cro Cop went low Nelson got on top of his back and landed a few punches that Cro Cop couldn't answer before referee Steve Mazzagatti stepped in to stop the fight, 1 minute and 30 seconds into the third round.
That made for a disappointing ending for the legendary Cro Cop. But it was a very good showing from the rejuvenated Nelson.