Mirko Cro Cop has been around the block but has never fought for Bellator, that will end at Bellator 217 when he faces Roy Nelson.
Mirko Cro Cop and Roy Nelson first met seven years ago at UFC 137, with “Big Country” winning by third-round TKO. The win snapped a two-fight losing streak for Nelson and sent Cro Cop to outside organizations.
The legendary kickboxer is a new man since leaving the first fight. Cro Cop is 10-1 in that span, falling to only current UFC contender Alexey Oliynyk. He also returned to the Octagon in 2015 to avenge his infamous loss to Gabriel Gonzalez. During his current nine-fight win streak, the Croatian won the RIZIN Openweight Grand Prix stopping all three opponents, two of which were on the same night. After six fights in RIZIN, this will be Mirko’s first foray into Bellator.
Roy Nelson has not quite had the same fortune. Since defeating Cro Cop, Nelson is a lowly 7-10, losing in three of his last four. After his contract with the UFC ran out in 2017, Nelson signed with Bellator and won his promotional debut over Javy Ayala. The victory earned him a spot in the heavyweight grand prix and a first round match against Matt Mitrione. After an incredibly close fight, Nelson was eliminated from the tournament, and has since fallen to Sergei Kharitonov.
Bellator 217 takes place on February 16 from Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main event is a long-awaited grudge match between Brits Paul Daley and Michael Page. Also on the card, Cheick Kongo will welcome former champion Vitaly Minakov back to the Bellator cage with the hopes of getting a title shot. The event will be the second of back-to-back cards in the arena for the promotion, with Matt Mitrione vs. Sergei Kharitonov headlining the night before.