All good things must come to an end.
That's a fact for just about everything in life and for Mirko Filipovic last night (October 29, 2011) on the UFC 137 main card, just as with much of his UFC career, it once again ended in disappointment.
The Croation kickboxer was holding his own with a slightly more svelte "Big Country" Roy Nelson for the fist two rounds, but, just as has occurred in four of his six UFC losses, the Pride 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix champion was once again on the receiving end of a third round stoppage.
So how did Roy Nelson pull it off? And what happens next for both men?
The season 10 winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) opened strong with some aggressive striking and a big takedown of "Cro Cop" early in the first round. Filipovic held a tight closed guard and eventually scrambled to his feet, but he couldn't put forward enough offense to make up for the points he lost from being on his back for over a minute.
After eating a big right hand from the TUF 10 winner, Filipovic put forward his best offensive attack of the night. He responded terrifically, unloading with a huge plethora of left hands while holding the back of Nelson's head with his right hand.
Nelson, to his credit, defended most of the strikes by covering up but he did absorb some big uppercuts that snuck through as well as some big left hooks to the body which was ripe for the punching with the way he was holding both arms over his head.
"Big Country" was bloodied up pretty badly from this attack, but he responded well by keeping his composure and firing back with a takedown later in the round, advancing to his patented crucifix position and raining down short unanswered strikes on the veteran kickboxer.
In round three, the Las Vegas native sized up "Cro Cop" and landed some big strikes with his own flurry along the fence.
Filipovic attempted a half-hearted takedown that was stuffed easily by Nelson and he immediately transitions to the Croation's back with both hooks in.
With all that weight on top of him, "Cro Cop" completely wilted as "Big Country" postured up and began laying into the turtling legend with big ground and pound from above. Thankfully, referee Steve Mazzagatti was able to rescue the fan favorite before Filipovic had his lights put out.
All that was left for Nelson to do next was his patented post-fight victory dance, the belly-rub.
For Mirko Filipovic, he once again put up a fight for the first two rounds, but made a key mistake in the third, allowing Nelson to size him up and overwhelm him along the fence with punches. In his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Filipovic announced that he would likely be done with MMA, and this was much more believable than Penn as he had been hinting at it throughout the week and this was the last fight on his UFC contract.
For Roy Nelson, this was a terrific showing. He showcased everything that made fans fall in love with him, heavy hands, a brawling style, the ability to absorb punishment and keep pushing forward and he finally utilized his terrific ground game. He called out the upcoming winner of the UFC heavyweight title after his victory, but he's still got some work to do before he's at that level. It's much more likely that Nelson will face someone like fellow UFC 137 winner Cheick Kongo or Mike Russow in his next fight. He could also be matched up with prospect Travis Browne if the UFC feels that "Hapa" is ready for someone of Nelson's caliber.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Was this fight a fitting sendoff for "Cro Cop?" What did you think of the leaner, meaner Roy Nelson last night?
For complete UFC 137 results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire pay-per-view (PPV) event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.
All gifs by Zombie Prophet via IronForgesIron.com.