UFC 130: Will Frank Mir vs Roy Nelson 'save' the May 28 fight card?

via assets.sbnation.com

Roy Nelson seems to think so.

"Big Country" will go to war against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir at UFC 130: "Rampage vs. Hamill" this Saturday night (May 28, 2011) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

And the winner could be knocking on the door of a 2012 title shot.

Perhaps that adds another layer of drama to their titanic tilt, but despite the ramifications of their beefy brouhaha, the UFC didn't find "Mir vs. Nelson" worthy of the main event for its annual Memorial Day Weekend event.

It didn't even make the co-main event.

That spot was reserved for Quinton Jackson vs. Matt Hamill, who now enjoy headliner status thanks to consecutive injuries to Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. Any upward movement for Mir and Nelson was strictly by default.

But as the Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 Champion tells MMA Weekly, their bout is one of this weekend's "fan favorites" and could end up "saving the card:"

"You’ve got Frank, he’s a two-time UFC champion, the longest employed Zuffa heavyweight. He’s a living legend of the heavyweight division for the UFC. For me to say I fought a living legend for the UFC, that’s something to say. I’ve got to be the better striker, the better grappler, because at the end of the day Frank’s one of the most complete mixed martial artists. The only thing he probably lacks is the wrestling. Everything else he’s right there. It’s a fight that going to be a complete mixed martial arts fight. I think it’s one of the fan favorites for the weekend. I like to say we’re saving the card."

But can they do enough to erase the memories of their most recent performances?

Mir (14-5) is coming off a knockout win over Mirko Filipovic at UFC 119 back on Sept. 25. His third round finish over "Cro Cop" was impressive, unfortunately no one was awake to congratulate him after the fight.

That's because his two-and-a-half round stinker against the Croatian was called "one of the worst main events in UFC history." In fact, Mir's performance was so pitiful that UFC President Dana White failed to recognize his stoppage as "Knockout of the Night" -- despite it being the only (T)KO finish of the entire event.

Still, it should be noted that the jiu-jitsu black belt has heavy hands, knocking out Brazilian vegetable Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira after stiffening Cheick Kongo en route to a Dec. '09 submission win.

He's a top ten heavyweight no matter how you slice it.

Nelson (15-5) was also on the fast-track to bigger and better opportunities within the division -- until he ran headfirst into a Brazilian roadblock named Junior dos Santos at UFC 117 last August.

"Cigano" took home the unanimous decision win and the right to Cain Velasquez, which he cashed in for a TUF 13 coaching gig (and eventual superfight against Brock Lesnar Shane Carwin) after the champ was sidelined with a torn rotator cuff.

The loss snapped "Big Country's" undefeated streak since graduating from TUF 10, but you can bet your bottom dollar a decisive win over Mir would carry him right back to the top of the contender's list.

Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson at UFC 130. Did it "save" the card?

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