Bellator 231: Mir defeats Nelson by Unanimous Decision
By: Jesse Donathan
Coming into the main event of Bellator 231 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut both UFC veterans Frank Mir (19-13, 5 KOs) and Roy Nelson (23-18, 15 KOs) were riding multiple fight losing streaks, with Mir having dropped four bouts in a row, most recently falling to Javy Ayala via second round TKO at Bellator 212 this past December in 2018. As for Nelson, having dropped sum three fights in a row himself, including his most recent outing at Bellator 216 against mixed martial arts legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in February, stepping into the cage in a rematch against Mir meant a chance for redemption. The two originally met at UFC 130 in 2011, with Mir taking home a three round unanimous decision victory. Inevitably, somebodies losing streak was going to end Friday night and it ultimately turned out to be Frank Mir’s.
Incredibly, Mir weighed in at 265.75 pounds for his rematch with Roy “Big Country” Nelson Friday night, which as fight commentator “Big” John McCarthy pointed out is stretching the limits of the 265-pound mixed martial arts heavyweight division. From the beginning, Nelson came out controlling the cage and pressing the action early on in the fight, stalking Frank Mir with short, plodding steps indicative of someone looking to set up a big shot and make quick work of the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion. Content to set back and counter strike, the story of the first round and perhaps the entire fight itself was Frank Mir’s highly effective inside leg kicks which routinely sent Nelson’s heavily weight distributed lead leg flying. The technique by in large prevented “Big Country” from finding his rhythm and setting up those legendary fight ending hands. The first round was a relatively clear 10-9 round for a Frank Mir who did his homework.
Photo Credit: Frank Mir Twitter Account
Though Mir still threw the inside leg kicks in the second stanza, he did so with less frequency than in the previous round as the game plan appeared to have been to soften Roy’s legs up in the first, hindering his mobility and overall movement in order to attempt to get Nelson out of there in the second. Though the savvy 43-year old veteran Nelson ultimately proved to be still quite durable, he is obviously missing the overall speed and explosiveness he once possessed just a few short years ago during his UFC tenure.
The second round was marked with Mir willing to stand and trade with a “Big Country” who did not appear to have a plan B besides banging it out with Mir, which was likely due in part to the unusually dangerous threat Mir poses in the grappling department. The second round was a more competitive and entertaining fight than the first, though one still ultimately judged a 10-9 round on my score card for a Frank Mir who just appeared to be the more dynamic fighter in the cage.
In between the second and third rounds, Nelson’s corner seemed particularly concerned with his nose, with one of his cornermen having a gauze at the ready as “Big Country” sat down to rest and compose himself. Seemingly finding his second wind or perhaps feeling a sense of urgency, “Big Country” would come out strong early on in the third, with the fighter appearing noticeably more aggressive and focused on the task at hand. After some back and forth action, the referee Todd Anderson would call a halt to the action with approximately 3-minutes and 30-seconds left in the round, the result of an accidental low blow from Mir that always seems to get the audience’s attention.
With the action restarted, Nelson would again resume his low, crouched stance in an effort to catch Mir with one of his customary fight ending big shots, though the crafty former UFC champion successfully evaded the thunder to keep his consciousness. With Mir seemingly exhausted and little more to offer, Nelson would go on to stalk his winded opponent around the cage for the remainder of the fight, ultimately displaying his heralded wrestling ability with just under 15-seconds left in the fight by impressively throwing Mir to the canvas.
Though it was too little, too late for the Las Vegas native as the end of the round and ultimately the fight itself drew to a close. Though it was a 10-9 round for “Big Country” on my score card, unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to secure the “W” as Mir took home the well-earned unanimous decision victory, moving to 2-0 against Nelson as he closed out their interorganizational rivalry.
In defeat, Nelson moves to 1-5 during his Bellator tenure, having dropped his last four fights in a row to Mir, Filipovic, Sergei Kharitonov and Matt Mitrione, a virtual deaths row of heavyweight mixed martial arts killers. Picking up a much-needed victory Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena, Mir snapped his own four fight losing streak that saw Mir, himself, compete against some of the best in the business, including the legendary knockout artist Mark Hunt, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and the legendary mixed martial arts demi-god Fedor Emelianenko. Both Mir and Nelson are two of the best fighters in the business, with both fighters having multiple fight losing streaks that serve as perfect examples of how losing can actually mean winning in the game of life.
Bellator 231: Mir vs. Nelson
By: Jesse Donathan
It’s going to be a clash of mixed martial arts legends at Bellator 231 on Friday, October 25, 2019 live on DAZN/Paramount starting at 9:00 pm EST at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The evenings main event set to take place in a rematch between former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir (18-13, 5 KOs) and Roy “Big Country” Nelson (23-17, 15 KOs). The two originally met at UFC 130 – Rampage vs. Hamill in 2011, where Nelson dropped a three round unanimous decision to the always dangerous former UFC heavyweight champion.
For those of you who may not be aware of who Frank Mir is, allow me the opportunity to introduce you to one of the most dangerous submission artists in the world. Frank Mir is not someone to be underestimated in any capacity, especially on the ground, but he is also a proven, well-rounded mixed martial artist very capable of stopping fighters on his feet as well.
Despite having his best days behind him, Frank Mir is still quite capable of breaking every bone in your body, a feat former UFC and Pride FC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, himself a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master, found out first hand in their rematch at UFC 140 in 2011. It was a grappling master showcase, though unfortunately for the Brazilian legend, Nogueira would succumb to Mir via technical submission by kimura, which is another way of saying Mir broke Nogueira’s arm and the referee was forced to intervene and bring a halt to the contest.
And who could forget Mir breaking former UFC champion Tim Sylvia’s arm at UFC 48 – Payback, also via technical submission, where Mir captured the UFC heavyweight crown via bone crunching armbar submission. Later, upon a trip to the emergency room it was revealed that the 6-foot-eight-inch former champions arm was fractured in several places, leaving an endearing reminder of exactly how soft “The Gentle Art” of Jiu-jitsu can truly be.
Following a serious motorcycle accident a few short months later, where he was ultimately stripped of his UFC heavyweight title; Mir would go on to triumphantly recapture UFC gold at UFC 92 some four years later, defeating Nogueira for the UFC interim heavyweight title via second round TKO.
“There’s mathematics to fighting Roy,” Mir told Phone Booth radio in an August 31, 2019 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “Frank Mir on rematch with Roy Nelson: ‘I really don’t want to fight Roy.’” According to Mir, who is currently riding a four-fight losing streak, “If you follow that formula, Roy is beatable. If you detour that, you take risks and open yourself up to make it more exciting, and that’s when Roy catches guys with that thunderous right hand of his,” writes author Nolan King.
“Roy Nelson has been around the block a few times over the course of his 15-year MMA career and, as a result, things just don’t bug him like they used to,” writes authors Simon Head and Matt Erickson in their October 24, 2019 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “Roy Nelson is (not quite) done caring as Bellator 231 approaches: ‘Everyone thinks I suck anyway’.” According to the report, “Nelson has fought each of his past three bouts,” in Uncasville, Connecticut despite having requested fights on the opposite side of the country each and every time. “Hey, it is what it is,” Nelson told MMAJunkie.com. In summarizing his ultimate thoughts on the rather peculiar irregularity and circumstance, “I feel like when I was in the UFC and got the international departures. I feel like it’s the same thing,” said Nelson in describing the perceivable oddity of it all.
Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Nelson acquired the nickname “Big Country” due in large part to his to his impressive grappling acumen, which naturally led to his peers presuming he must have come out of one of the more decorated collegiate wrestling programs in the country such as Oklahoma or Iowa for example. Though on a current three fight losing streak of his own, a quick glance at Nelsons record indicates he has fought a who’s who list of mixed martial arts legends throughout his career, meaning the seventeen career losses on Nelsons record are a potentially deceptive indicator of his overall greatness when evaluating the totality of his career due to the strength of schedule he carried alone.
With both mixed martial arts legends riding multiple fight losing streaks, one of the two is about to snap a dry spell Friday night in the evenings main event live at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Considering the previous history these two combatants have with one another, is Nelson going to set the stage and record straight for a third and final showdown with Mir in avenging his 2011 UFC 130 defeat? Or will Mir manage to crunch the numbers once again, utilizing his tried and true mathematical equation to zero Nelson out, moving to 2-0 in their multi-organizational rivalry? Tune into Bellator 231 live on Paramount/DAZN tonight starting at 9:00 PM EST to find out and catch all the evenings results.