Roy Nelson’s retirement appears to be coming to an end.
On Thursday, Jorge Masvidal announced on Instagram that Nelson will face Dillon Cleckler in the main event of Gamebred Bareknuckle, which is the former UFC competitor’s bare knuckle MMA promotion. The event takes place May 5 at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Fla.
According to the announcement, the event will serve as the first sanctioned bare knuckle MMA event in Florida, and will feature “some of the best-known fighters from UFC, Bellator, PFL, and more.”
Nelson hasn’t competed since losing a unanimous decision to Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 244 in August 2020, which led to him announcing his retirement from the sport. Nelson was defeated in four straight, and five of six to cap of his 42-fight pro career, which included a 19-fight run in the UFC.
Cleckler is 11-1 as a pro MMA fighter, but has also found success competing for BKFC, where he earned a heavyweight title shot against Arnold Adams at BKFC 25 in May 2022. In his most recent outing, Cleckler knocked out Josh Burns in 80 seconds at Gamebred Boxing 4 earlier this month.
Promotional officials also confirmed to MMA Fighting that the co-main event will feature a battle between UFC veteran Markus Perez and former PFL light heavyweight champion Emeliano Sordi.
The rest of the lineup is expected to be announced soon.