Frank Mir is on a mission. He wants the Heavyweight title again and just as important, he wants to take it from Brock Lesnar. But his road to the title has been a rocky one where he had suffered a some setbacks. Losing to Brock changed Mir in a way that affected him physically and mentally. Since then Mir has never been this fit and he has never been so determined to claw his way back to the top. And tonight, the next person standing in his way is the stoic and always dangerous Mirko Cro Cop.
In PrideFC, Cro Cop amass a career on beating opponents by vicious knockouts. Watching Cro Cop was like watch Mike Tyson demolishing grown men down to cowering little girls. It was fun and exciting to watch. Towards the end of his PrideFC career his speed and aggression waned but not before he was able to capture the Open Weight Grand Prix title. Soon after PrideFC went under UFC acquired the Croatian Sensation. Cro Cop’s fight in the UFC has been less than stellar. But with two back to back wins in the UFC the Croatian looks more poised then ever. Is he finally comfortable in the Octagon? My answer, probably not. But he can always prove me wrong if he wins impressively against Mir.
Mir has one of the best ground game in the division, but he’s been improving his standup. Wins over Kongo and Big Nog showed that he can throw punches too. Cro Cop is a K1 striker and has fought the best kickboxers on the planet. But his BJJ is “meh” at best. It’s his face-planting sprawl that keeps his opponents from trying to take him down. To win this fight Mir will need to take the fight to the ground fast and work his submissions. He’ll need to close the distance and drag him down to the floor.
For Cro Cop to win he’ll need to pull the trigger and let his hands and legs loose. He’s been too gun-shy lately to build up any kind of effective offense. With his sprawl he can keep the fight standing as long as he wants. But he’ll need to utilize his kicks to slow down Mir. Cro Cop has excellent gound and pound and if he can wear Mir down he can win the fight there. Forcing Mir to repeatedly go for takedowns is one way to gas him out. Skill for skill Mir has a little more tools in his tool bag than Cro Cop. Mir always comes back stronger and better after a loss and we have yet to see the Cro Cop of the past and we’ll probably will never see it again, which is why Mir will win this fight because the Croatian’s lack of aggression and counter-fighting style won’t work against Mir.
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