Leading up to the bout, Cro Cop hinted that, win or lose, the fight could be his last. The former Pride Fighting Championships star reiterated that point following his loss at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, bidding an unofficial goodbye to the sport and congratulating Nelson on his victory.
Speaking to UFC.com immediately after his technical knockout over the Croatian, Nelson asserted that while he was pleased to snap a two-fight losing skid, he was also disappointed to see Filipovic leave the cage for good. In fact, Nelson believes that Pride’s 2006 openweight grand prix champion still has the tools to compete if he has a change of heart..
“It’s good to just be back in the [win] column,” Nelson said. “It’s sad to see Cro Cop is done, but all I know is that if he doesn’t want to retire, he’s still got fight left in him. He hits hard and he can still bang around, and he can tear it up with the rest of them.”
The opening frame of the heavyweight contest was a close one, as Nelson made first contact with a sharp overhand right. However, Filipovic recovered from the blow and maintained his distance, circling left and finding his range with straight left hands and solid body kicks. “Big Country” then took the fight to the floor, planting the former K-1 kickboxer on his back and initiating ground-and-pound.
Round two saw Nelson take control of the contest after surviving a Cro Cop flurry. The Las Vegas native uncorked a big right early in the stanza, only to see a wobbly Filipovic counter with a hard shot of his own. Covering up on the fence, Nelson withstood most everything the 37-year-old could throw at him, defending beautifully and minimizing the damage sustained.
Nelson took the fight to the floor once more, this time landing in side control and transitioning to a top-side crucifix. Bombing a defenseless Filipovic with short punches, Nelson set up what would be an academic third round, as the bearded heavyweight rocked Cro Cop with another right and finished with punches.
“[I had to] hit him and make him pay,” said Nelson. “The second round, I hit him hard and I thought I had him. Then he hit me, and he put me on defense real fast. So I put him on his back, and there wasn’t much offense after that.”
This item was updated Oct. 30 at 2:55 p.m. ET. The original report erroneously stated that Nelson finished the fight via submission.view original article >>
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