Throwback Thursday: Relive Cro Cop vs. Gonzaga


Poland has had a long history of occupation by foreign powers. In three days, two of the most popular heavyweights in MMA history will occupy one of Krakow’s biggest sporting venues for an epic rematch at UFC Fight Night 64 that is sure to end in some kind of dramatic fashion.

Flashing back to April of 2007, UFC 70 had invaded Manchester in Great Britain with a flurry of great fights. Fabricio Werdum, Michael Bisping, Andrei Arlovski and Lyoto Machida all made appearances. The piece de resistance was a Heavyweight title eliminator to decide who would face Randy “The Natural” Couture at UFC 74. Coming off of an impressive win streak in the 2006 PRIDE grand prix open weight tournament was Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, a fan favourite with devastating kicks. Meeting him in the center of the cage was Brazilian rising star Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga.

The two men wasted little time in the feeling out process. Gonzaga began to pressure the Croatian kickboxing legend with two-punch combinations and leg kicks. Cro Cop used his footwork to circle out for about 45 seconds. Gonzaga began flashing some more kicks at his opponent, catching him with an inside leg kick. Cro cop swayed backwards while stepping into his power left middle kick that landed flush but was quickly taken down by Gonzaga with a power double.  Even though Cro Cop was able to largely stifle the offensive submission grappling of Gonzaga, he eventually got caught with several sharp short elbows. A cut opened on the top of Cro Cop’s forehead before he was able to shut down Gonzaga’s offense. After a few minutes into a lull of guarded shots to the body of Cro Cop, the two men were forced to reset the fight on their fight. This was the beginning of the end for the Croatian sensation. Not just the first round. It was to be a long and painful evening for him…

With only sixteen seconds on the clock before the expiration of the first round, Gonzaga pressed forward with intensity. Just before the ten second mark, Gonzaga landed the kick heard around the world. He blasted home a right high kick with malice that landed clean. Mirko Cro Cop wilted at the waist as his legs gave way. As the weight of his 230 pound body came crumbling down to the canvas, Cro cop managed to jam his ankle in awkward position against his knee that caused terrible damage to the entirety of his leg.

A horrifying ending that no one expected. The kickboxer brutally knocked out with his own trademark. Polish fans should be prepared for bloodshed on their soil once again.

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