Posts Tagged ‘Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’

UFC 137: Diaz overwhelms, Penn and Cro Cop retire

Diaz (L) and Penn (R) after UFC 137 (photo: Lorenzo Fertitta's Twitter)

After all was said and done, the news around UFC 137 turned out to be bigger than the event itself.

Nick Diaz battered B.J. Penn, who joined Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in announcing his retirement after losing Saturday at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Cro Cop lost by TKO in the third round to a slimmed down Roy Nelson, then confirmed that he was calling it quits.  After Cheick Kongo scored a unanimous decision victory over Matt Mitrione in a lackluster heavyweight match, Penn got outpaced by Diaz, especially over the final two rounds, and then said it was his last time fighting.

For his troubles, Penn earned an extra $75,000 — as did Diaz — for taking part in the fight of the night.  Penn also needed a trip to the hospital instead of the post-fight press conference.

There was only one submission, a rear naked choke by Donald Cerrone in the first round against Dennis Siver, and one other knockout, as Bart Palaszewski pounded out Tyson Griffin in 2:45.  Each winner earned the $75,000 bonus for submission and knockout of the night, respectively.

The wins by Cerrone and Palaszewski made Spike TV a winner, since those were the two preliminary card fights it televised.  In the other main-card fights, highly regarded Japanese fighter Hatsu Hioki’s UFC debut was successful with a split decision win over George Roop, while Scott Jorgensen spoiled Jeff Curran’s return to the promotion with a unanimous decision victory.

The retirement announcements by Cro Cop and Penn stole some of the thunder from the main event, but Diaz did his best to make some news of his own.  He originally was supposed to fight for the UFC welterweight title against Georges St-Pierre, who was sitting cageside and had little response to Diaz’s post-fight call-out.

“I don’t think Georges is hurt,” Diaz said.  ”I think he’s scared to fight me right now.”

Cameras captured the reaction as St-Pierre laughed and shook his head.  The champion pulled out of the title fight against Carlos Condit after tweaking his knee in practice within a couple of weeks of the event.  Condit was originally supposed to fight Penn, but was elevated when Diaz went AWOL and missed a pair of press conferences.

Penn appeared frustrated with his performance and resigned to a future without MMA competition after offering congratulations to Diaz via Joe Rogan.

“Joe, it’s probably the last time you’re ever going to see me in here,” Penn continued.  ”If you cannot perform at the top level …  you know, I have a daughter, another daughter on the way, I don’t want to go home looking like this.”

Kongo and Nelson could be headed for a meeting after winning their bouts.  Kongo beat Mitrione in a close fight by hitting a takedown in the final round and top-controlling Mitrione, Nelson’s former castmate from the 10th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Nelson and Cro Cop went into a winner-take-all third round with the fight tied 19-19 after two.  Nelson, more fit than ever, did not let it go to the judges, getting down Cro Cop and pounding him out from the back mount at 1:10.

“I told (you) before this fight, this is going to be my farewell fight,” Cro Cop said.  ”Unfortunately, I didn’t get the victory. Roy was the better fighter tonight. I want to thank the UFC fans, the headquarters, they have treated me like a king.”

Following the contest, Nelson shaved his scraggly beard and dressed in a dapper suit.  If he was styling to be a championship contender, he was doing it to back up his words.

“It was awesome to compete with a legend,” Nelson said.  ”I guess I’m gonna do a Chael Sonnen right now, and call out somebody. Who’s fighting in a couple of weeks? (Cain) Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos?  I want the winner of that.  I’m getting too old for this (stuff).”

On the Facebook portion of the preliminary card, all four fights were unanimous decisions.

Brandon Vera beat Eliot Marshall, Ramsey Nijem dominated Danny Downes, St-Pierre teammate Francis Carmont cruised past Chris Camozzi, and Clifford Starks got the better of Dustin Jacoby.

Cro Cop-Nelson, Kongo-Mitrione set for UFC 137 on Oct. 29

Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop slated for UFC 137

Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio Nogueria added to UFC 134

UFC 128: Brendan Schaub – “This is fight I will never forget”

(L-to-R) Dana White, Schaub and Nate Marquardt after UFC 128 (Hector Castro/

Conner Cordova of chats with UFC 128′s Brendan Schaub after his victory at UFC 128.

Brendan Schaub: Unfazed by swift rise through heavyweight ranks

Brendan Schaub (Rob Tatum/MMA DieHards)

As Brendan Schaub looks to capitalize on a UFC heavyweight division filling with fresh faces as the wider world of mixed martial arts witnesses the decline of the weight class’ icons from years gone by, “The Hybrid” takes the biggest step of his career this weekend at UFC 128.

On Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Schaub faces an MMA heavyweight legend in the form of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović. It’s an encounter that has the potential to characterize the new guard’s replacing of former champions, including Andrei Arlovski and Fedor Emelianenko, who continue their steady downturn in 2011.

Speaking on Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network, Schaub discussed his opportunity to face Filipović in the Octagon as well as a number of other topics related to his budding career in the UFC. The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 runner-up spoke of his eagerness to trade strikes with the Croatian, an individual for whom he holds the utmost respect and still rates as a prominent figure in the UFC.

“(The fight) can’t come fast enough,” Schaub told hosts Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton. “It’s been a long, successful camp for me and I wish the fight was (now).  I’m just eager to get in there and mix things up with a legend like ‘Cro Cop.’ ”

Schaub’s pay-per-view-opening fight at UFC 128 will be the most high profile encounter of his short career and a chance to turn his three-fight winning streak into a genuine claim to burst into the mix for title contention.  Despite a first-round knockout defeat at the hands Roy “Big Country” Nelson at the TUF 10 Finale in December 2009, the 27-year-old has compiled a promising professional MMA record that stands at 7-1, with his most recent success a unanimous decision victory over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 121 last October.

Schaub’s development as a mixed martial artist since his time on the UFC’s reality series is evident.  His loss to Nelson has been followed by an impressive run of form that suggests he took the ordeal in stride, correcting any flaws in his game.

“When I got to the house I definitely relied on my stand-up; out-boxing guys,” Schaub admitted. “I always considered myself more of a striker and I was really inexperienced. You could tell that early … I was going out there basically balls-to-the-wall and most guys can’t put up with that. But when you’re facing the higher competition, that stuff doesn’t work. Going past my last couple of fights I’m definitely more composed and a more well-rounded fighter.  I study film on my opponents, come up with game plans.  I’m starting to get that under my belt and I think that’s the difference.

“(Coming off a loss), for me, that’s when you find out what fighters are made of.  I could have gone down one road where I lost to Chase Gormley and I’d have been cut by the UFC, but I decided to go the other way and I’ve been on a tear.  This is what I was born to do and I feel I can compete with anyone in the UFC in the heavyweight division. I’m just going out there to prove it now.”

One of the sport’s most recognizable names, Filipović brings a wealth of experience to his fight with Schaub. Across tenures with Pride Fighting Championships, Dream and the UFC, the 36-year-old has amassed a record of 27-8-2 (1 NC), holding victories over Kazushi Sakuraba, Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman and Wanderlai Silva while fighting for Pride FC.

In recent years however, the Pride 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix winner has enjoyed mixed success, most recently losing by knockout to Frank Mir at UFC 119 last September. He remains, however, a dangerous force for anybody in the UFC to contend with, using his signature leg strikes to great effect.

“Uh wait, he kicks?” Schaub joked. “I think it’s funny when people go, ‘Man, you’re fighting Cro Cop? Bro, watch out for the left high kick.’ No (kidding), really? ‘Cro Cop’ is an absolute monster when it comes to kickboxing with his left kick and his left hand, so that’s why I train so hard and I’ll definitely be ready for anything he brings.”

Preparing for his fight at Colorado’s Grudge Training Center, Schaub trains alongside fellow UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin.  The two have been teammates for a number of years.  As the world of MMA continues debating the ethics behind teammates fighting each other following light-heavyweights Jon Jones and Rashad Evans opposing the notion, a prospective clash between Schaub and Carwin somewhere down the line poses a similar dilemma.

“As Jon and Rashad go, and my relationship with Shane, it’s nowhere near the same,” Schaub said adamantly. “Jon lives in New York and drives down to Albuquerque for his camps, whereas Shane and I have been together since the start of our careers. We’re both where we’re at because of each other, he’s been a mentor and almost a father figure to me, so it’s a little different.

“If it’s for a title, that’s a different story. That would be a good one to have and I’ll deal with it when that time comes.”

Adopting the nickname “The Hybrid” from his ability to successfully combine the assets of strength and agility, the former Arena league football player’s slender (for a heavyweight) frame and weigh-in weight of around 240 pounds arguably has its downsides within a weight class where a number of fighters push the upper limit of 265 pounds.

“I see it everyday in Shane Carwin,” Schaub countered. “It’s all I know, so the good thing is I’m used to that weight.  There are only really two guys who deal you that problem and that’s Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin.

“Other than that, you look at the way the heavyweight division is going, you got guys like Cain Velasquez, who’s smaller than me, Junior dos Santos, who’s either the same size or smaller than me, and those guys are the front runners of the division right now. So the monsters like Carwin and Lesnar, those are two guys. … I go up against Carwin everyday, so if I was matched up with Lesnar then it would be a good thing for me.”

You can rule out Schaub dropping to 205 to compete in the UFC’s light heavyweight division any time soon as well; if the James Irvins of the world hadn’t already put him off the idea.

“No, it would be a rough cut. Right now, I’m probably 10 percent body fat and 253 (pounds) so to get to 205 would just be miserable for me,” Schaub said.  “At the same time, there’s no need to, I’m pretty successful in the heavyweight division right now and I’m just keeping on this straight.”

With six first-round knockout victories already to his name, Schaub’s pairing with the Croatian striking specialist at UFC 128 looks to offer a great deal of movement, mostly head-on, and significant bonus potential, whether it be knockout of the night or fight of the night.

He’s ready to capitalize.

Brendan Schaub on UFC 128: “This is my Super Bowl”

Brendan Schaub looks forward to the opportunity to fight a legend at UFC 128.’s Conner Cordova sits down with UFC Heavyweight Brendan Schaub at Grudge Training Center in Denver, Colorado.

Brendan Schaub slated to face Mirko “Cro Cop” at UFC 128

Brendan Schaub (image via Rob Tatum -

Despite rumored matchups with fellow heavyweights Frank Mir and Stefan Struve, rising contender Brendan “The Hybrid” Schaub will in fact be facing MMA legend Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic at UFC 128 in Newark, NJ.  The fight is expected to be part of the March 19 event’s pay per view main card.

News of the bout was first reported by Fighters Only, and has since been confirmed by with a source close to the bout.

Schaub comes into the bout on a three fight win streak, since finishing as the runner-up on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”  CroCop was most recently in action at UFC 119, where he suffered a 3rd round KO loss to Frank Mir.

UFC 119 Post-Fight Drug Tests Come Back Clean

The Wrap-Up: UFC 119 Recap & Analysis

Photo Courtesy of

Joe Rogan was ready to go for the potato chips. The Indianapolis crowd was grumbling its displeasure and awaited the final bell, only a minute away.

That’s when Frank Mir delivered the only satisfying bit of action in the evening’s headlining bout, knocking Pride legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic to the mat with a solid knee to the head.

Mir landed a few follow-up shots to the already dazed Cro Cop before referee Herb Dean could jump in and call an end to the contest at the 4:02 mark of the third round.

Had it not been for the knee from Mir, the main event would have capped off a night that had already seen the four other main card bouts land in the hands of the judges.

In the light heavyweight coheadliner, Ryan Bader remained undefeated with a unanimous decision win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Bader’s wrestling would give him the edge in a relatively close battle. Bader scored several early takedowns, but did little damage to Nogueira on the mat. However, in a fight that was mostly even on the feet, those takedowns helped carry Bader to a unanimous decision victory.

Welterweights Chris Lytle and Matt Serra might have engaged in something more closely resembling a boxing match than a mixed martial arts bout, but the two put on what was arguably the most entertaining bout of the evening in the eyes of the live crowd. Lytle boxed his way to a one-sided unanimous decision.

Sean Sherk would take home the evening’s most controversial victory, earning a split decision over the previously undefeated Evan Dunham. While Sherk scored numerous takedowns in the first and second rounds of the bout, Dunham rewarded Sherk’s efforts with numerous guillotine choke attempts. Sherk was able to avoid the submissions and did open up a cut above Dunham’s eye in the first stanza, but Dunham’s efforts seemed to outweigh those of Sherk. The judges saw the fight differently, awarding the decision to the former lightweight champion Sherk.

The night’s pay-per-view action opened in the lightweight division with another close decision as Melvin Guillard came out on top over Jeremy Stephens on two of the three judges’ scorecards.

Earlier in the evening on the Spike TV prelims, Matt Mitrione earned a unanimous decision over Joey Beltran and C.B. Dollaway locked in a guillotine choke on Joe Doerksen for a first round submission win.

Here’s the event wrap-up, including full results…

Biggest Winner: Ryan Bader. It might not have been a completely one-sided dominant performance for Bader, but the light heavyweight has now defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Keith Jardine over the course of his last two fights. Those are some significant names and definitely set Bader up to face stiffer competition his next time out. That could be bad news for Bader though, considering that Jon Jones has been suggested as his next foe.

Biggest Loser: The fans. The main event might have ended with a bang, but the first fourteen minutes were not pretty. Overall, it seemed like this night didn’t pack as much action as it promised on paper.

Loved seeing: Four fights on the Spike TV Prelim broadcast. It sure doesn’t hurt to have three quick finishes and a three round slugfest as a promo for a pay-per-view event. It doesn’t leave much bonus material for the paying customers, but it was a good way to kick the evening of fights off.

Hated seeing: The main event. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is a Pride legend, there’s no doubt about that. But a win over a one-dimensional striker in his last outing seemingly had everyone ready to put him back among the division’s elite. That’s not where he belongs. He showcased the same lack of fire in this bout as he has in all of his Octagon outings. I actually expected Mir’s improved striking to be a bigger factor throughout this contest, but he even seemed sold on Cro Cop’s supposed resurgence.

WTF was up with: Sean Sherk taking the decision over Evan Dunham? Decisions like these will always spark debate. Sherk scored a ton of takedowns in the first and second rounds of the bout, but had to go on the defensive once on the mat. It’s hard to see those rounds going in Sherk’s favor when it was Dunham’s chokes that constituted the offense. When you tack on a dominant striking display from Dunham beginning in the last couple of minutes of the second round and continuing over the course of the third stanza, there would seem to be little doubt as to the winner. So, once again, how did the judges get it wrong?

Noteworthy: $70,000 bonuses were awarded to Sean Sherk, Evan Dunham, Matt Mitrione and Joey Beltran for “Fight of the Night” and C.B. Dollaway for “Submission of the Night.” Despite scoring the knockout in the main event, Frank Mir was not awarded a bonus for “Knockout of the Night”.

Full Results

Sean McCorkle def. Mark Hunt (Kimura/Armbar, 1:03 of Rd 1)
T.J. Grant def. Julio Paulino (Unanimous Decision)
Waylon Lowe def. Steve Lopez (Split Decision)
Thiago Tavares def. Pat Audinwood (Guillotine Choke, 3:47 of Rd 1)
Matt Mitrione def. Joey Beltran (Unanimous Decision)
C.B. Dollaway def. Joe Doerksen (Guillotine Choke, 2:13 of Rd 1)
Melvin Guillard def. Jeremy Stephens (Split Decision)
Sean Sherk def. Evan Dunham (Split Decision)
Chris Lytle def. Matt Serra (Unanimous Decision)
Ryan Bader def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Unanimous Decision)
Frank Mir def. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (KO, 4:02 of Rd 3)

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