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Mirko Filipovic steps in for injured Nogueira at UFC 119

In the not-too-distant past, there weren’t many things MMA fans desired to see more than their favorite UFC competitors matched up against stars of Japan’s PRIDE organization. Fast-forward to August 2010 and enthusiasts of the sport have had an opportunity to see a few of those “dream” fights take place. At UFC 119, though put in temporary jeopardy by an unfortunate injury suffered by Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira in preparation for the show, another one of those iconic pairings will take place.

According to Fighters Only Magazine, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has been named as Nogueira’s replacement and will take on former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir in Indianapolis at the September 25th event. Filipovic has won back-to-back fights in the Octagon and most recently choked out Pat Barry at UFC 115 last June. The 27-7-2 Croatian kickboxer has knocked out twenty of the opponents he’s beaten and should provide a solid test for the jiujitsu-based Mir on the mat as well.

Comparably, Mir will be looking to get back on the winning track against “Cro Cop” after being knocked out by Shane Carwin at UFC 111. He is 12-5 in his career with notable wins over Cheick Kongo, Tim Sylvia, Brock Lesnar, and the aforementioned “Minotauro” Nogueira.

23 COMMENTS
  • MCM says:

    Well, there goes “UFC 119, The Rematch” as a title.

    For some reason, I kinda like Cro Cop in this one. Although Mir is great off his back, never had great take downs so if Mirko wants to keep this standing he should be able too. I know Frank has been working on his stand up but even though I don’t expect the “old” Cro Cop to show up, I still think he has the advantage on the the feet. I guess there were worse fights the UFC could have made, so I’m OK with this one.

  • Rich S. says:

    This is actually an unexpected, awesome match.

    I never saw it coming, but I’m even more interested now than I was when it was Mir/Nogueira 2.

    Mir is a lot bigger and has become more aggressive with his striking, but, his chin is as sketchy as ever.

    If Cro Cop rides in with the confidence of his recent finish, he could have the will to put Mir to sleep.

    We’ll see..

  • Angry Mike says:

    This is an intriguing match up. Mir’s stand up has looked pretty good lately, but will he stand and trade with Cro Cop? Is that a smart game plan? On the other hand, Cro Cop got the win against Barry, but he took some punishment. Mir’s more experienced than Barry, and I don’t think Mir will be dazzled by Cro Cop’s name like Barry seemed to be.

    If Mir keeps Cro Cop moving backward so he can’t set his feet, Mir can stand with him. Mir can also win on the ground. Cro Cop’s got a decent guard, but he’s not a threat on his back, and Mir has slick submissions. I say Mir wins by ko or tko in the second.

  • MCM says:

    Angry Mike, it sounds as if you’re insinuating that Mir has more experience on his feet than Barry. Pat Barry may only be 5-2 in MMA but had 25 fights as a professional kick boxer before becoming a mixed martial artist. In a straight striking match, I would pick Barry over Mir any day.

    Franks only avenues for a win here are on the ground, preferably with him on his back by sub, or by maintaining top/octagon control for a Dec. Well, I shouldn’t say ONLY avenues as anything can happen, but his best chance to win is keeping Mirko on the ground..

  • Angry Mike says:

    MCM

    I’d heard that Barry had kickboxing experience, but don’t know much about it.

    I agree that Mir has a major advantage on the ground, but I think he might be competitive on his feet, too. Cro Cop seems to have regained some enthusiasm for fighting and has looked good in his last two fights, but I still have some doubts because of his losses to Gonzaga and Kongo. At his best he would have the advantage when striking, but will he be at his best? I sure hope so, but I’m not convinced.

  • Davey D says:

    I was a little upset about this yesterday when I first heard about this. I actually got my tickets to 119 the day they went on sale. After thinking about it for say…2 minutes. I thought hey, at least they got someone to set up rather quickly and that someone is Mirko Cro Cop. Wow! Thats whats up, Joe Silva! Well done, Sir.

    Even though I don’t get to see all my all time favorite fighter. Seeing Mir vs. Cro Cop is right up there with it. I still might get to meet Minotauro since he’ll prob be in Rogerio’s corner anyway. The last event I went to was Rampage vs. Jardine and I’ve been dying inside to get to another one.

    I’ve been to a lot of sporting events, concerts…you name it. Nothing comes close to seeing a show like the UFC live. My ticket was only $125 and I’m sitting in the lower bowl @ 119. Cageside was only $300. Cheers!

  • Rece Rock says:

    Mir does not gain anything from this match up… IMO.

    This card leaves something to be desired ( on paper)…. but who knows could be a great card in actuality.

  • Dufresne says:

    I’m not trying to be negative, but other than Mir’s knockdown of Kongo and the 2 shots he landed on Lesnar in their rematch, Mir’s standup has looked pretty awful. Yeah he took out Big Nog, but even if you didn’t know he was sick before the fight, you could tell something was off before any punches landed. He just wasn’t moving right.

    And it’s not really Mir’s hands that look that bad to me. They’re not great, but they’re far from the worst in the UFC. Heck, they’re not even the worst in the HW division. It’s his head movement. Or more precisely, his lack of head movement. He doesn’t keep his chin tucked when he throws, after about 3 or 4 exchanges he just stops moving it at all, and he seems to forget that he can cut angles and probably not get punched in the mouth as often.

    Luckly for Mir he probably doesn’t have to worry too much about Cro Cop’s clinch game. But if Mir can’t get this to the ground and even a shadow of the old CC comes out to play, Frank’s gonna get another whiff of those smelling salts.

  • Guthookd says:

    This is great!!!

    If Frank doesn’t snap Cop’s head right off his body he better retire or kill him self. I know there are some CC fans here, but if there was ever a fighter that I love to see loose it is Mirko CroCop.

    Frank should be able to absolutely dominate him.

    RETIRE HIM!!!

  • twyg says:

    What does Frank get out of this if he wins, besides beating a former great. CroCop has nothing to lose and everything to gain. If CC can manage to pull off the upset (he has to be the underdog right) where does that put him in the title picture? The winner of this could fight the loser of the upcoming title fight or Roy Nelson. A win here could launch CC on a last title run. All that said I see Frank pulling this out. Berry should have won his fight with CC if he would have jumped on CC when he had him hurt in the first. Mir wins by tapout in the second.

  • kuboa says:

    I used to love to watch Cro Cop, but I hate worrying if he’ll need arthritis medication midfight.

    But seriously, for me the central question here about the *outcome* of the match is in regards to *mental* readiness. Cro Cop has talked about retiring and did in fact look terrible against Dos Santos. I thought Barry presented a real challenge, and you could argue that Barry left him off the hook after the punch that dropped him. He has discussed not wanting to “hurt” his opponents. He clearly lacks the speed and power that earned him “Legend” status. BUT…..

    The last time Mir looked good was against Big Nog and that was controversial vis a vis Nog’s health. After getting used like a rag by Carwin, I have to imagine he’s quite wary of getting outstruck- he may actually be a prime candidate of the LHK Cro Cop loves- or loved- if he *doesn’t* close the distance. He knows he isn’t a real contender for the belt, and that may irrevocably bum him out.

    This is a classic case of “Who Wants It More?”

  • Truthfully i see this as Mir’s fight to lose. Sure Cro Cop has those big kicks and big power but past that what? He probably wont want to throw those kicks for fear of hitting the ground and let’s not forget Mir has the most explosive BJJ of ANY HW anywhere. He doesnt set up subs he grabs them with reckless abandon AND he doesn’t just try to make you tap he goes to break your limbs. If he caught a body kick (ala Gonzaga) he’d be mid kneebar before he even hit the ground.
    Oh and Kongo has worse takedowns than Mir and he took down CC at will .Mir was still a state wrestling champion and should have no problem putting Mirko on his back. Sorry but this is probably cro cops last stand.

    Mir by however he wants it late round one.

  • Swing Em says:

    Neither one has a great chin, i say the first one to get caught goes out. But with that being said i’m looking forward to this match up & hope we see a throw down.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    this match up definitely is for Mirs favor. Franks shown decent hands, tho I cant see him trying to play into CC’s strength. The fight will hit the ground inevitably and Mir will win. But Im saying its late in the fight; I just don’t see these guys knocking one another out (feels weird to say about cro cop)

  • king mah mah says:

    @kuboa- You said “the last time Mir looked good was against Big Nog”.

    For real?! Um, I thought he looked pretty damn good against Kongo when he knocked him silly with a left hand and choked him to sleep!! But that’s just me. Maybe others feel he looked like shit in that fight. Don’t know. You tell me.

  • king mah mah says:

    @Guthookd- I gave you thumbs up. Great comment! LOL

  • king mah mah says:

    Oh yeah baby! Bring those thumbs down bitches!!!

  • Talengard says:

    Unfortunately, neither of these guys are as good as they see themselves, so there will definitely be 1 and a half to 2 minutes of feeling each other out, then some crappy exchanges where neither one is pulling the trigger. I think Mir will get hungry in the second round and finish the fight somehow, but this is sure to be boring, neither of these guys are exciting fighters right now. Mir needs to get hungry if he’s going to try to make a title run again, and while he’s at it he should find out what he’s good at and try to tailor a game plan to it.

    Does anyone know how like Cro Cop is signed for? I remember that big deal being made over a 3 fight deal over the phone, but if memory serves this is fight number 4 in the UFC (this time); does anyone know how many fights are on this contract? There are at least three more good match-ups I’d like to see with him left in the UFC HW division.

  • LiverPunch says:

    I got Mirko via TKO.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I think Mir try and stands with him in Rd 1 with no success and then subs CC in the middle of Rd 2…

  • Angry Mike says:

    These posts (and some previous posts) suggest that Cro Cop has more admirers than Mir. Great; everybody has their favorites. Sentiment aside, Mir has more ways to win than Cro Cop, and if Mir comes to the fight with right game plan, playing to his strengths and not Cro Cop’s, it’s Mir’s fight to lose.

  • kuboa says:

    Forgot the timing of the Kongo fight, duly noted.

  • monnolith says:

    I remember reading an interview with the Cop saying that he hasn’t been “injury free” in a couple of years. When GG KO’d him, do you remember how f’ed up his knee and ankle were?

    In my opinion, it’s not that he’s been gun-shy or over the hill as much as he’s just simply been injured for a while. Yes, he has had some less than spectacular performances of late, but so would the majority of us if we had to fight JDS while effectively hopping around on 1 foot…

    As for Mir, you know, at one time I actually liked him. But that was a long time ago. Doesn’t this guy have “the most dangerous man alive” as his nic-name on his website? Maybe Kenny S can sue him for that!

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