Mirko Cro Cop Looks for Revenge against Roy Nelson at Bellator 200

Roy Nelson after losing at UFC 143
Roy Nelson, seen here after losing at UFC 143, has lost seven of his last 11 fights. Photo by Olympia UFC (YouTube).
  • Bellator 200 takes place on May 25th where they celebrate their 200th card with a solid night of fisticuff action
  • Two hard-hitting heavyweights in Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro Cop will renew pleasantries. Who’s chin will survive?
  • Middleweight champ Rafael Carvalho faces the toughest test of his career in Gegard Mousasi. Will we have a new champ?

Bellator will be going to jolly old England on Friday, May 25th to celebrate a milestone.

The promotion’s 200th card will take place at the SSE Arena (9 p.m. ET, same-day tape delay on Paramount) and features a battle of big men getting top billing over a title fight.

The main event features heavyweights Roy Nelson and Mirko Cro Cop slugging it out, while in the co-main event, middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho puts his title on the line against Gegard Mousasi.

The main card will also feature unbeaten British welterweight Michael Page versus David Rickels. The undefeated Page, who won a boxing match last October, hasn’t fought in MMA since 2016 but will look to reestablish himself as a top contender in front of his family and friends.

From top to bottom the card is pretty stacked and features some of Bellator’s elite talent. So let’s have ourselves a spot of tea, and take a look at the main and co-main event of the evening. Currently, no odds have been released on these match-ups so we have included our own and will update accordingly.

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson

FIGHTER SBD’S ESTIMATED MONEYLINE
ROY NELSON -135
MIRKO CRO COP +105

And in this Corner…

At 43, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (36-11-12) has spent the last few years beating up tin cans in unregulated Japan all while thumbing his nose at his two-year USADA suspension for PED use. Now that he has served his time, Cro Cop brings his steely, stoic demeanor, and an eight-fight winning streak to British soil where he looks to kick Roy Nelson’s head off.

This is essentially a retirement tour for the longtime MMA vet who says he is competing on a one-fight deal with Bellator and will return to Japan for two more bouts to end out the year and his career. However, I am sure Bellator and Cro Cop are also eyeing a potential dream retirement bout with Fedor Emelianenko if the MMA Gods are willing.

Since their rematch was announced, both men have thrown verbal barbs at each other, but at Bellator 200, real punches will be thrown and it will come down to who has the better chin.

Standing in the way is a 41-year-old Roy Nelson (26-11) who has been wildly inconsistent going 4-6 in his last ten fights with five of those losses going the distance in punishing fashion. You can question “Big Country’s” approach to his MMA career but his heart and durability are never in question. He’ll take a shot or two, or thousands, to find a way to land his big right hand and he’ll go every round to try and get it done. He’s coming off one of those decision losses to Matt Mitrione in the opening round of Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix back in February.

The winner of this fight will become the number one alternate for the heavyweight tournament if another fighter pulls out.

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson Fight Breakdown

Since their rematch was announced, both men have thrown verbal barbs at each other, but at Bellator 200, real punches will be thrown and it will come down to who has the better chin. The last time around at UFC 137 in 2011, it was Nelson who was able to get Cro Cop to the ground and end the fight in the third with some vicious ground and pound. That kind of TKO victory is what I expect to happen here.

Cro Cop can still land some devastating combinations with his legs and feet so it will be imperative for Big Country to stay out of Cro Cop’s range.

Cro Cop’s age, overall wear and tear, and predictable style is why I feel Nelson should be able to come out as the victor. Both men will be looking for the fast finish, and although Cro Cop’s “Right leg hospital, left leg cemetery” is legendary, his patented head kick doesn’t appear to have that same zip or power to knock out Nelson. That said, Cro Cop can still land some devastating combinations with his legs and feet so it will be imperative for Big Country to stay out of Cro Cop’s range and look to land the big knockout punch on the Croatian’s well-worn chin or get the fight to the ground.  Nelson, who’s overall skillset has deteriorated the last few years, should be able to win this bout if he fights smart and patient. But that’s a big “if.”

This is a close fight to call but we’re giving the slight edge to Nelson.

Predicted Winner: Roy Nelson

Rafael Carvalho vs. Gegard Mousasi

FIGHTER SBD’S ESTIMATED MONEYLINE
GEGARD MOUSASI -210
RAFAEL CARVALHO  +170

And In This Corner…

Current Bellator Middleweight Champion Rafael Carvalho (15-1) is putting his title on the line when he faces Gegard Mousasi in what should really be this card’s main event.

That aside, the 31-year-old Brazillian is looking to keep the good times rolling by winning his sixteenth fight in a row. He’s coming off a quick KO win over Alessio Sakara at Bellator 190, and 12 of his 15 wins have all been the way of TKO/KO. It’s clear Carvalho loves to finish his opponents and will do so via elbow or nasty head kick as we saw against Melvin Manhoef in April of last year. He loves to throw vicious combinations with both his feet and his hands and is great at finding his distance and avoiding the takedown.

Gegard Mousasi is riding a six-fight winning streak and is coming off a lackluster split-decision win over Alexander Shlemenko back at Bellator 185.

“The Dreamcatcher” Gegard Mousasi (41-6-2) is riding a six-fight winning streak and is coming off a lackluster split-decision win over Alexander Shlemenko back at Bellator 185. To be fair, Mousasi had injured his eye in that bout and had trouble seeing.

The former UFC title contender is a complete fighter who can knock opponents out on his feet or submit them with the grappling game on the ground. At 32, Mousasi has a better resume having beaten the likes of Chris Weidman, Dan Henderson, and Vitor Belfort while Carvalho hasn’t faced competition anywhere near that level.

Rafael Carvalho vs. Gegard Mousasi Fight Breakdown

Call this baptism by fire for middleweight champ Rafael Carvalho who definitely has the tools to knock Mousasi out, but first, you have to be able to hit him. Mousasi loves to throw a lot of strikes (3.75 per minute) and isn’t known for absorbing much either. Mousasi is also pretty good at taking his opponents down when the opportunity presents itself, he’s also a durable and patient fighter who takes calculated risks.

Carvalho will have to try and hurt Mousasi on the feet but that’s easier said than done. He has never faced this kind of competition in his career. As one of the top-5 middleweights on the planet, Mousasi can strike with the best strikers, grapple with the best grapplers, and also has a deep veteran tool shed from which to pull from. Both these men will bring it but I don’t see anything that Carvalho does striking wise, that Mousasi hasn’t seen before. Look for Mousasi to wear Carvalho down and either win with a big spectacular KO or a submission to become the new Bellator Middleweight Champion.

Predicted Winner: Gegard Mousasi