It’s been four long years since UFC heavyweight Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic struck fear in the hearts of his counterparts, but he showed at UFC 115 on Saturday night that he still has some gas left in his Croatian tank.
Things looked grim early on for the former Pride Open Weight Grand Prix champion, as Pat Barry’s speed and power enabled him to floor the Croatian a couple of times in the 1stRound.
“He caught me twice,” Filipovic said. “The first one wasn’t so hard. I fell down on my ass, but I felt nothing almost. The second one was good. I had double vision for a few seconds, but I managed to survive.”
Then something happened somewhere in the middle of the 2ndRound. It was something mixed martial arts fans haven’t seen in a long time and something Octagon fans have never witnessed from Filipovic, he actually put a hurtin’ on his opponent with a kick to the body.
It was a classic “Cro Cop” kick that immediately changed his opponent’s demeanor. It probably wasn’t too difficult considering Barry openly admitted to idolizing CC back in the day and insisted on getting an autograph before the weekend was through.
From that strike on, it seemed like the tide of the fight drastically turned. As expected, Barry fought until the very end, however Mirko was the one that started to dictate the pace of the bout. Then all of a sudden, he took Barry to the mat to the surprise of everyone inside the GM Place in Vancouver, Canada.
Barry’s inexperience on the ground was a glaring problem and CC capitalized by wearing the much quicker Barry out.
By the time the 3rdRound horn sounded, it seemed as though Mirko’s plan was drastically affecting his younger opponent, who eventually succumbed to a rear-naked choke.
“He made space for me to choke him,” Filipovic matter-of-factly said, “and I just choked him.”
His first submission win since being crowned the 2006 GP champ came at a convenient time. The UFC awarded the veteran an extra $85,000 for Submission of the Night honors.