Seven years after Roy Nelson knocked out Mirko Cro Cop in the third round of their UFC 137 match, Bellator is giving the pair another go.
A heavyweight fight between the former UFC talents is reportedly happening on February 16 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut for Bellator 217. It will serve as a rematch between the long-sleeping rivalry that started in October 2011.
Mirko Cro Cop will make his long-awaited Bellator debut on Feb. 16 against Roy Nelson — https://t.co/uJivbRSJpv
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 6, 2018
Mirko’s Bellator Debut
According to a tweet from ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, ‘Big Country’ will welcome the Croatian fighter in the prestigious promotion with a long-awaited rematch. After the initial bout at UFC 137, the fighting pair has slept their rivalry and went on their own MMA ways.
The Connecticut event headlined by Michael ‘Venom’ Page vs Paul Daley will feature the heavyweight match, originally scheduled at Bellator 200 in May. Cro Cop’s much-anticipated debut was delayed when he was forced to withdraw from the scheduled fight due to an injury.
Mirko (37-11-2) is entering the rematch with a nine-fight winning streak after recently submitting Roque Martinez at their RIZIN 13 square off. His last loss was delivered by now-perennial UFC heavyweight contender Oleksiy Oliynyk back in November 2013.
The 44-year-old also suffered some of his UFC setbacks against Brendan Schaub, Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir — including Nelson. He’s been with various mixed martial arts promotions since entering the combat sports in 2001, now planning to set foot in the Bellator cage.
Sparking Fire Back
Nelson, on the other hand, is trying to snap his two-fight losing streak with another victory against his long-lost rival. The 42-year-old is coming off a recent knockout loss at the first round of his Sergei Kharitonov match early last month.
‘Big Country’ (23-16 MMA) who is fighting out of Nevada won his first match against Cro Cop via third-round TKO. Sparking fire back to their matchup, the heavyweights will meet in the cage again after seven long years.
The pair is joining MVP vs Daley and a heavyweight title eliminator between former champion Vitaly Minakov and Cheick Kongo at Bellator 217 on February next year.
Watch the thrilling promotional video of the matchup’s cancelled Bellator 200 fight below:
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic and Instagram/Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson