With Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira out with an injury, Mirko Cro Cop has stepped in to take his place in a battle against Frank Mir at UFC 119's main event this September 25 in Indianapolis.
Cro Cop, a Croatian kickboxer and former law enforcement officer in the elite police Special Forces tactical unit, is a legend in the sport.
A former K-1 and Pride fighter, Cro Cop holds notable wins over Josh Barnett, Eddie Sanchez, and Wanderlei Silva.
He is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating Anthony Perosh and Pat Barry. At the age of 35, though, Cro Cop doesn't have quite as much spring in his step.
Still, Pride fans nationwide still reminisce about the Cro Cop of old; the Cro Cop who won Pride's Open-Weight Grand Prix tournament in 2006.
Frank Mir is known for his brutal submissions. He holds notable victories over Tim Sylvia (armbar), Antoni Hardonk (kimura), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (TKO punches), Cheick Kongo (guillotine choke), and Brock Lesnar (knee bar).
Mir has all the tools to win this fight, particularly if it goes to the ground. Mir certainly has the ability to take it there.
However, as eloquently described over at MMA HQ, it is Mir's mindset that could determine whether he wins or loses this fight.
"Coming into his fights against Carwin and Kongo, Frank Mir’s pre-fight interviews were becoming more and more like an MMA version of "Fatal Attraction,"" writes Ben Cartlidge in his pre-fight analysis. "He was obsessed by Lesnar, and all his talk was about Brock and how the loss had affected him more than he knew how to deal with and how he would never suffer like this again; ironic perhaps that after being steamrolled by Lesnar, he was duly demolished by Carwin in even more brutal fashion."
Mir's fight strategy will also determine where this fight will go. Cro Cop brings years of kickboxing and boxing experience to the table and is stronger on his feet, but Mir is practically unstoppable on the ground.
The only way I see an upset taking place is if the fight stays standing.
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