It’s 2019, and one of the highest-profile double-digit win streaks in the sport belongs to … Mirko Cro Cop.
As farfetched as the previous sentence might have sounded about five years ago, it’s true. Making his Bellator MMA debut Saturday night, Cro Cop, winner of the legendary 2006 PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix, earned a unanimous decision over Roy Nelson in the co-feature bout of Bellator 216. The judges’ scores at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. were 30-27 and a pair of 29-28s.
“Roy is tough, a hard puncher,” Cro Cop said. “I will say it was more mentally hard for me than physically. It’s always hard to go into rematch when you lose the first fight.”
The opening round was contested at a feeling-out sort of pace. Nelson initiated the bulk of the action, but Cro Cop unquestionably landed the harder shots over the course of the first five minutes. In the second, Nelson was determined to land a takedown, but he never quite got it. Cro Cop, on the other hand, landed nice elbows in the clinch, low kicks, body kicks, and he even flicked his famed head kick.
In the third, Nelson finally landed that elusive takedown in what was otherwise a slog of a round, which may have given him the round, though it wasn’t enough to win the fight.
With the victory, the 44-year-old Cro Cop is now 38-11-2 (1NC). He’s won 10 fights in a row, and he’s now 7-0 in rematches, as he lost to Nelson at UFC 137. Nelson (23-17) has now lost three in a row.