Frank Mir (13-5) vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (27-7-2, 1 NC) – The main event at UFC 119 on Saturday night will feature two fighters looking to get back among the elite fighters in the heavyweight division. Frank Mir is looking to get back among the challengers for the title, and a win on Saturday night will certainly get his name back into the discussion. Mirko Filipovic, on the other hand, has already established his place as one of the best heavyweight MMA fighters of all time. For him, a win against a legitimate UFC heavyweight will prove that he still has it, and that he is still an elite champion fighter to be feared.
Although he may not be a household name in the United States, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is a living legend among long-time MMA fans. Cro Cop has been active all over the world throughout his career, initially making a name for himself as a kickboxer in the in the K-1 tournaments. He continued to dominate after he transitioned into MMA, fighting and winning against the best the world had to offer, including fighters like Mark Coleman and Wanderlei Silva. Now, at the age of 36, although he still is a devastating fighter, it seems as if all of the nagging injuries he has carried during his career may finally be catching up with him. However, having his fights more spread out in recent years seems to be allowing him more time to recover, and this has shown in the Octagon. After beginning his UFC career with a with an unimpressive 1-2 record, he has gone 3-1 in his last 4, with his only loss coming because of an eye injury. All 3 of his victories came early, 2 by KO and 1 by submission. If Mir gives him any opening, Cro Cop will make him pay.
Unlike Cro Cop, Frank Mir has already been to the top of the UFC heavyweight division and is looking to climb his way back. Although he has lost 2 of his last 3 fights, those losses came to Brock Lesnar at UFC 100 and against Shane Carwin at UFC 111, both via knock out. Mir has always been a vicious fighter, at times showing seemingly no concern for his opponent, like in his fight against Tim Sylvia. However, it his more recent fights, it has seemed as if Mir has been more concerned with the show of the fight than the fight itself. Despite the bravado he exhibited leading up to recent fights, be was thoroughly dominated by both Lesnar and Carwin. Mir has all of the physical tools to be successful. His losses seem to have been more the cause of being mentally unprepared. If he can come into the fight Saturday night in the right frame of mind, he will look to take the fight to the ground and take advantage of his superior size.
Mirko Cro Cop still lives by his personal motto: “Right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery.” If this one turns into a stand-up fight, Cro Cop has a huge advantage, as he still has devastating power in his legs, and the longer the fighters stand, the more opportunities he will have to strike, and the more dangerous he will become. If Cro Cop can stay standing, he will have the advantage in the fight.
Mir needs to cut down the space in order to take advantage of his strength in this fight, which will be his grappling. If he can take Cro Cop down and keep the fight on the ground, Mir will be able to take advantage of his size and strength and really impose himself in the fight. The fact that 8 of 13 wins have come via submission is no accident. If this one goes to the ground, Mir will have a huge advantage.
Cro Cop is the more experienced and wily fighter in this one. Although Mir seems stronger physically at this point, he has shown that he’s prone to mental mistakes, and until he proves otherwise, you have to think he could make another one at any time. With a fighter like Cro Cop, one mistake is all it takes to cost you the fight. Check out Bodog and take Cro Cop in this one, getting good value at +220.