Roy Nelson’s last fight may actually prove to be the best preparation for him to defeat Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at UFC 137.
While Nelson’s bout against Frank Mir didn’t go his way, he still learned a few valuable lessons, none more so than what it’s like to fight a southpaw in the Octagon.
The former Ultimate Fighter will once again face a southpaw on Saturday night when he faces former Pride Grand Prix champion Cro Cop, and says that his time in the cage with Mir was invaluable.
“The guy that prepared me the best for Cro Cop was probably Frank Mir because he’s a southpaw,” Nelson told MMAWeekly Radio.
To the casual eye there may not seem like a big difference when fighting a southpaw versus a fighter with an orthodox stance, but Nelson is here to tell you that it’s a huge problem that even UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva found out about recently.
“It’s a completely big switch. Your angles are different, your punches come at a different angle, how you need to approach, and how you need to punch him is different,” Nelson explained.
“It’s kind of like Anderson vs. Chael (Sonnen). Anderson beats up all the orthodox guys, but as soon as he gets another southpaw it screws him up.”
Nelson knew that to get ready for a very dangerous kickboxer like Cro Cop, who also happens to be a southpaw, he had to go through a similar camp again this time, except he got to add one important piece to the puzzle.
Nelson’s last opponent, Frank Mir, also came into the gym to help him get ready for Cro Cop, adding some extra knowledge because he faced the Croatian not so long ago.
With two fights back-to-back against southpaws, Nelson might just start asking the UFC for that type of opponent because a switch back to an orthodox fighter could screw everything up.
“Going from southpaw to southpaw and keeping that the same, I just hope when I fight an orthodox guy it’s not going to screw me up,” said Nelson. “Fighting an orthodox guy is a completely different beast than fighting a southpaw.”
For the second fight in a row, however, Nelson gets to show off what he’s learned fighting a southpaw. The former Ultimate Fighter winner faces Cro Cop at UFC 137 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.