“Will Cro Cop Rise To The Top?”
by Chad Frost
At UFC 67 we saw a glimpse of “that” kick & Eddie Sanchez felt its power. He announced himself, not with words but with the cracking sound of bone on flesh.
Cro – Cop made a solid debut, stalking Sanchez around the Octagon like a lion would a wounded buffalo in the Serengeti. He struck Sanchez at will and with great precision. Sanchez looked awkward & well out of his depth, but to his credit he did manage to land a few decent shots on Cro – Cop, which only seemed to ignite the Croatian.
Mirko showed great composure and focus as we have come to expect from the heavyweight contender. He was methodical in his approach as he dismantled Sanchez and claimed victory at the end of round 1 to announce his arrival in the UFC.
A controlled clinical performance sure, but is Mirko “Cro -Cop” Filipovic the next UFC Heavyweight Champion?
We may have a clearer indication after UFC 68 when Tim Sylvia will attempt to defend his title against the ever youthful Randy Couture (in his return to the UFC). Some say Sylvia’s last couple of performances, have been a little lackluster and that he may lack the desire to “finish” opponents. He will have to be at his best to defeat Couture, despite the obvious weight / height advantages, as “The Natural” is sure to be in peak condition when he steps through the gate.
Add to the mix the undefeated Brandon Vera, the ever dangerous Andre Arlovski, even Jake O’Brien who out scored returning Heath Herring and Cro – Cop might not have it all his own way. After last weekend more challengers may emerge to try and claim the scalp of the UFCs’ marquee purchase. The question is… Will the UFC really test Mirko in future bouts? Or will they provide him with a dream ride to a title showdown.
One way or the other it is sure to make for interesting viewing and his journey will be watched and debated by the ever growing legion of MMA followers. As “Big” John McCarthy would say “Let’s get it on, C’mon!!”
Written by: Chad Frost, Tuesday 6th February 2007.