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Remembering Cro Cop: A Look Back at the Career of Mirko Filipovic

By Ryan Ventura

When I was ten years old my uncle bought me a brand new Playstation game that helped blossom my love and interest in combat sports. K-1 Revenge came out in 1999 and it introduced me to many kickboxing legends that I admire and still enjoy watching today. Names like Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, the late Andy Hug, Mike Bernardo, and many more. One name in the game that really stood out to me at the time was Mirko Tiger. Not because of his style or the way he played, but it was his name itself that I just found to be very cool. He wasn’t the best fighter in the game, but the ring announcer mentioning the name ‘Mirrrrrkooooooo Tiiiiggggeeeerr’ has always stuck in my head.

Eventually I got older, found out that his real name was Mirko Filipovic, became more familiar with his kickboxing accomplishments, and of course his run in PRIDE. The man who would later be best known as ‘Cro Cop’ began his kickboxing career in 1996 following in the footsteps of fellow Croatian legend Branco Cikatic. The southpaw of course got the nickname Cro Cop from his days working as a commando in the Croatian polilce anti-terrorism unit.

Continue reading this tribute to one of the all-time greats at


Take a Look at the Welterweight Version of Sexyama

(I have come for your women.) 

As promised, Yoshiro Akiyama has already completed his transformation to 170 pounds, and besides looking a little gaunt in the face, it’s safe to say that he has taken this “Sexyama” thing to a whole ‘notha level. I mean, first the music video and now this? You are making it increasingly difficult for the rest of the male population to get laid, Mr. Akiyama.

Below, we have Akiyama’s weigh in photo leading into his UFC debut match against Alan Belcher as a basis for comparison, courtesy of


Photo of the Day: ‘UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem’ Official Poster

ufc 141 brock lesnar alistair overeem poster
(They should have included a can of soda for size comparison.)

With Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem, the UFC will arguably be presenting the most dynamic wrestler vs. striker battle that the heavyweight division has ever seen — but if you really want to hook the casual fans, it’s a lot easier to say “gawd damn these sons-a-bitches are huuuuuge!”

Which they are, of course. This might be the first time that Lesnar will look out-sized in the cage. And after Brock’s year-long illness layoff, Alistair isn’t exactly the ideal return opponent. But hey, this is MMA, anything can happen, etc.


Photo of the Year Candidate: Nick Diaz and BJ Penn After UFC 137

nick diaz bj penn ufc 137
(Props: MMA Scraps)

A superstar on the rise, fist-posing next to a possibly-retired legend who barely has the strength to shaka — you can put this photo in the MMA dictionary next to “changing of the guard.”

UFC 137 provided another example of the unique emotional arc that this sport sometimes gives us. Headliners Nick Diaz and BJ Penn got into a near-tussle at the weigh-ins, spent three rounds trying to knock each other out, and after the fight they were chillin’ like two old bros. Never mind the fact that Penn’s left eye was leaking blood from all the blows he ate from Diaz, who happened to break the record for significant strikes landed in a UFC fight, by the way.

After the jump: More UFC 137 post-fight press conference highlights, in which Diaz talks about why he didn’t want to fight Penn, and explains that he didn’t go to school for buying a house. (That’ll make a little more sense when you watch it.)


Video: Ultimate Insider – Nelson Weighs In, BJ by the Numbers and More

This week’s edition of UFC Ultimate Insider, unfortunately absent of our second most bangable octagon girl, attempted to end the great debate over whether Roy “Big Country” Nelson was truly trimming down for his UFC 137 bout with Mirko Cro Cop, or if he was rather trying to prove that photoshop does wonders for the figure. Well, from what we can determine, it is the former, as Nelson seems to have “beefed up” his weight training regimen in an effort to shave off some extra pounds. As Roy puts it, “I’ll be Roy 2.0, just a faster version of windows, hopefully it’s not Vista.” Zing! And even Dana White seems relatively impressed with Roy’s effort, relatively.

Also on this week’s episode, Matt Mitrione answers the fan’s questions in his segment, “Ask a Meathead,”a statistical breakdown of why B.J. Penn is  badass even by UFC standards, and we go inside the mind of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who admits to being “a complete wreck” come fight night.



Wednesday MMA Link Club: Akira Didn’t Tap, Askren Disses Hieron, and UFC 137 Preview Potpourri

(Damn, Stitch, aren’t you supposed to stay neutral? Props: Me, five minutes ago.)

This week’s featured stories…

- Akira Corassani: Behind The Screen (Exclusive Interview) (LowKick)
“When you end up in a heel hook, you know that you have two options: it’s tap or your knee will snap, or your MCL, ACL will be out and maybe your career will be on ice…But, this grip was not in. It wasn’t a good heel-hook. You can see the technique also, his legs were all on the wrong side of my body. So, he was holding my ankle and he was going 100% to yank it and I was like, ‘Holy S—!’ So, I raised my hand, I was going to tap. Then, I don’t feel it. I don’t feel it, so why am I going to tap? If you see the other camera angles I posted on my website, you see clearly that I raised my hand and then I take his leg and shove it to the side to escape. Then he slips, my heel pops out and I’m out. That’s it…I didn’t tap, I continued fighting and I won the fight.”

- Funky Town: Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren Says He’ll ‘Maul Jay Hieron’ (MMA Mania)
“Yeah he was a national champion in junior college but Jay [Hieron] is significantly overrating his wrestling ability. What you have to realize is that people who win national junior college tournaments, I pin them in 30 seconds. That’s no big deal. I mean, even at the highest, highest level at the NCAA tournament my senior year, in five matches I probably got 40 takedowns and that’s against the best of the best of the best guys in the United States in wrestling and Jay was never on that level”

- ‘Raw Combat’ Author Jim Genia Discusses the NY Underground MMA Scene (The Fight Nerd)
“New York doesn’t allow MMA right now, so fighters have to go to New Jersey to fight where it’s sanctioned or they have to go underground in New York city…but the book isn’t just about the underground fight scene in New York, it’s also about the development of sanctioned MMA in the east coast…In New Jersey, there was a show called BAMA Fight Night run by Big Dan Miragliotta. His show was the only show for the longest time, there weren’t sanctioned events in the North East, so Big Dan would hold these shows and people like Matt Serra, Nick Serra, Phil Baroni, they had their first fights at these events.”


Your Daily Dose of Danavlog: UFC 137 Edition

Dana White’s video blogs, though sporadic, have taken an increasingly interesting turn in that they are now largely made up of post-fight footage from UFC events rather than the day-to-day extravagance that is “The Baldfather’s” life. As with his UFC 136 vlog, Dana gives us a brief introduction and wishes us a happy Halloween before throwing us behind the scenes of UFC 136 to witness the agony of defeat firsthand.

Particularly tough to watch is that of Melvin Guillard, who, after having his lightweight title aspirations choked out of him by Joe Lauzon, completely loses his shit backstage, throwing a chair across the room before breaking down on his hands and knees as the doctor’s try to attend to him. Even Joe Warren had to look away.

Join us after the jump for some other musings from this week’s vlog:


Photo of the Day: Roy Nelson Is Huge for a Welterweight

Roy Nelson Forrest Griffin UFC photos
(Props: @roynelsonmma)

Look, I understand that a good deal of Roy Nelson‘s size is contained in his belly, which has been compared to the moon both for its shape and density. And I know that black is a slimming color in general. But check out this recent picture of Roy standing next to light-heavyweight Forrest Griffin and tell me that Big Country isn’t fighting way, way out of his natural weight class. I know, that’s not exactly a ground-breaking observation, but good Lord, those chicken legs.

After the jump, two more examples of Roy standing next to other fighters who look surprisingly large compared to him. Related question: Is Nelson really walking around near 265, or has he been trolling us, Semtex-style?


Alistair Overeem: “Brock Won’t Make It Out of the First Round”

(Image via TheCheapSeats)

By Anton Gurevich

Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem spoke to FightStar TV about his upcoming bout with Brock Lesnar, which will also mark the Dutchman’s debut inside the Octagon. According to Overeem, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion will not be able to get out of Round 1, despite being “a strong guy.”

The Demolition Man is currently in the middle of his training camp for UFC 141, which will take place on December 30, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Visit to watch Overeem’s latest interview about his upcoming match with Brock Lesnar.


Roy Nelson Calls on Frank Mir/Zeus’ Beard to Prepare for Cro Cop, Continues to Live Large

(Sorry Roy, casting for Tucker and Dale vs. Evil 2 is down the street.)

Leading into his UFC 137 bout with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, former IFL heavyweight champ Roy “Big Country” Nelson has enlisted the help of former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir to prepare him for the Croatian legend. Mir, who defeated Nelson by unanimous decision at UFC 130 back in May, also holds a knockout victory over Cro Cop from their headlining bout at UFC 119. Nelson explained his decision to bring in Mir during a recent interview with NBC Sports: