Though the smack talk between Alistair Overeem and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic has been heating up ever since their testicle-smashing meeting in September, it appears that Dream is not interested in a rematch on New Year’s Eve. At a press conference an FEG executive said that Overeem is "begging" for the fight, but for reasons all their own Dream has decided to hold off on this one.
Fed up with Overeem’s insinuations that he’s ducking the fight, Cro Cop has gone so far as to invite his Dutch friend down to his basement where they can square off in Cro Cop’s own personal cage with "neutral referees." As awesome as that sounds, and as perfect a plot for an action movie as it would be, it seems doubtful that Overeem will go for it. Word is he’ll actually have a paying fight on New Year’s against Sergei Kharitonov.
“The advice I got from my doctors was that fighting Overeem only two months after my knee operation was a suicide mission. I already had missed the July bout and postponing my September bout was not an option for me. I have only myself to blame.”
“I’ve had several operations this year, and I’ll have to undergo another one straight after the NYE event. It’s frustrating to have to undergo all these operations but that’s the sportsman’s life. Many others have had it worse then me.
“Sportsman” seems like an odd translation in this context. I have an uncle who’s really into fishing. He calls himself a sportsman. Other than a love of pranks involving the threat of violence, my uncle and Cro Cop really have nothing at all in common.
Answer: Quite broken. Like, so broken that he might not be recovered in time to rematch Alistair Overeem on New Year’s Eve. First, there’s this interview with Filipovic (from dnevnik.hr, translated by Robert at betwwx.com) where he recounts the fight-stopping injury at DREAM.6 and stresses that he absolutely wasn’t faking to get out of the match:
“The third strike to my balls was very strong…I know some people were saying that I was saved by the fact the match was ended. There was blood, but those cuts were nothing…I wasn’t hurt until I got hit in the nuts. The third strike into the nuts was very powerful and the biggest problem was that the cup squashed my nuts…I need to go to the hospital for some check ups. I still have some problems, I pissed blood, but thats all part of the job.”
MMA Convert (via Fightlinker) passes along more details about those check-ups, and things aren’t sounding too pleasant:
Mirko will have to undergo a testicle exam which got injured in the Overeem fight. Mirko’s genitals still hurt a lot says Dr. Zeljko Kapulica.
“Mirko’s left testicle is still hurting and I have to examine it to determine whether it’s stable in the scrotum; complications might occur if the testicle rotates and clogs the blood vessels. Also I need to check if the inguinal canal in which his tescticle was pushed in is open because it could lead to a hernia.”
Gross. At this point, Cro Cop’s life is imitating Ow! My Balls! Between this and the Cheick Kongo fight at UFC 75, his nards are like supermagnets for knees. Nobody wants to go out on such a low point, but could this be a sign that you maybe need to reconsider the way you make a living?
(‘This is my hammer. I call her Sheila. You do not want to make Sheila angry.’)
Knees to the groin aside, Alistair Overeem isn’t buying Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic‘s claims that he could not continue during last night’s Dream.6 bout. Cro Cop’s anguish looked pretty genuine, and Overeem’s knees seemed intent on finding his testicles, but Fighters Only reports that the Dutchman thinks dude was faking it in order to get out of a beating:
“Tonight I was kicking his ass, I destroyed him. …The first knee was in the crotch but the second was not. CroCop just didn’t want to fight anymore.”
“I think he underestimated me, but if he wants to fight again, I’ll fight him again. I’d like to finish him.”
Overeem was dominating the fight. That much seems apparent, though Cro Cop would have us believe that he was just biding his time and waiting for the right moment to stop getting his ass kicked.
But whatever you think of Cro Cop and his ethical code, that knee strike was clearly in the groin neighborhood. A cursory examination of the video evidence proves that much. Even if Overeem feels that he didn’t get him right on the buttons, as it were, he’s got to concede that Cro Cop might have been just a little extra sensitive in the testicular region at that point in the fight, seeing as how he’d already been nailed there. Nobody likes to see a fight end like that, especially the guy who leaves the ring with one of his testicles inside his body, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Armenian-Dutch fighter Gegard Mousasi put in a career-making performance at today’s DREAM.6 in Saitama, Japan, earning quick stoppage victories over Melvin Manhoef and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza to win the middleweight grand prix. In his first fight of the night, Mousasi easily dominated Manhoef, quickly scoring a trip-takedown, then securing the mount and clamping on a triangle choke when Manhoef reversed the position. Manhoef attempted to slam out of it, but was forced to tap at the 1:28 mark. Meanwhile on the other side of the bracket, Souza enjoyed a similarly brief win over Croatian Zelg Galesic. After getting a double-leg takedown, Souza passed from guard to mount and snatched an armbar when Galesic tried to buck.
Both men moved into the GP finals relatively fresh — not that they needed to be. When Mousasi and Souza finally met in the last fight of the night, it seemed like Mousasi was in over his head, as Souza first slammed him then began to drop punches from half-guard. But Souza made the fatal error of standing up, and Mousasi caught him with a Hail Mary upkick that knocked Jacare out cold as he began to dive in for a punch.
DREAM.6′s non-tourney featured matches went pretty much as expected, with the stars beating up on the cans. Shinya Aoki returned to his flamboyantly winning ways, hopping on the back of WEC castoff Todd Moore and finishing him at the 1:10 mark with a neck crank. Jimmy Ambriz should be applauded for lasting over two minutes with Sergei Kharitonov, who battered The Titan with vicious strikes until Ambriz was forced to tap on the ground. After abusing him for most of the first round, Yoshihiro Akiyama submitted karate practitioner Masanori Tonooka (1-2), who, let’s just say, is no Lyoto Machida.
The only real surprise (and disappointment) was how the heavyweight feature between Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Alistair Overeem played out.
Dream’s sixth event — which goes down September 23rd in Saitama, Japan — may just feature its most compelling card yet. The show’s centerpiece is the semi-finals/finals of the middleweight grand prix, where Melvin Manhoef, Gegard Mousasi, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and Zelg Galesic will do battle to crown a single champion. A welterweight strap will also be on the line, decided by the long-awaited match between Nick Diaz and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. And now it looks like two big-name heavyweight bouts will be part of the action as well.
MMA highlight-video master Genghis Con — whose nuts we’ve hugged in the past — went on the UG yesterday to plug his new video, which documents the “Beef” between Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra. It’s as amazing as you’d expect, but while poking around his previous works, we came upon “Grand Theft Title 2,” an absolute gem from last year which focuses on Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s killing spree in PRIDE’s 2005 Grand Prix, where he took out Quinton Jackson (at Total Elimination), Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (at Critical Countdown), and then Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona in the same night (at Final Conflict); you can watch it above.
The GTA video game theme allows for fun touches like the “Change View” at -8:23 and “Unlocked: Foot Stomps” at -7:05, but the use of Liberty City‘s soundtrack really sets this one apart. How freaking cool is Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” playing during the Nogueira and Overeem fights? Con is on a whole ‘notha level. Anyway, check it out, tell a friend, and set aside some time to watch the rest.
(‘I am here to pick up your daughter. There is dowry, yes?’)
In a recent entry to his MMA-id.com blog, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic addresses his recovery (it’s going well) and the possibility of a fight with Alistair Overeem in Dream (he’s all for it). But what’s more interesting is that Cro Cop seems well-aware that most MMA fans believe his best days are behind him and, dammit, he’s motivated by it:
I see many people speaking about me as a washed-up fighter but this is just another boost to my motivation. I’m working hard to get back on track and meeting and defeating strong competitors in the ring is all that I think of nowdays.
Man, of all the once-heralded, now-mostly-forgotten fighters from Pride, the collapse of Cro Cop has to be the most disappointing. If it takes us saying that to get him to become a serious fighter again (and no, scheduling and then pulling out of grappling matches against members of the Gracie family doesn’t count), then it’s worth it. Even if Cro Cop gets mad and plays crazy pranks involving assault rifles on us:
(Alvarez vs. Kawajiri: Fight of the Night. Props to MMA-Core.)
Chaos rules when it comes to single-night tournaments, and today’s DREAM.5 show in Osaka was marked by an unexpected twist — lightweight grand prix alternate Joachim Hansen defeated crowd-favorite Shinya Aoki in the finals to become DREAM’s first lightweight champion, following an eye injury suffered by Eddie Alvarez in his semifinal match.
The first semifinal bout was dominated by Aoki, who threw his entire bag of submissions at Caol Uno, threatening Uno repeatedly with chokes, leglocks and armbars. Uno hung in like a champ, but the judges made the obvious choice when the clock ran out, and an exhausted Aoki advanced to the finals.
In the second semifinal, the Philadelphia-based Eddie Alvarez proved that he should be counted among the world’s best lightweights, getting the best of Tatsuya Kawajiri in a thrilling slugfest. Alvarez suffered a cut under his right eye early by Kawajiri’s nasty power punches, but Alvarez dropped Kawajiri with his own. After time was called for Alvarez’s eye to be checked out, the fight-restarted with Kawajiri taking control again, punching Alvarez to the mat and swarming him from the top. Alvarez eventually got to his feet, taking heavy damage in return. But Alvarez battled back, throwing his fists until Kawajiri succumbed. Unfortunately, it was later announced that Alvarez wouldn’t be able to continue to the finals because his eye was swollen shut.
The tournament’s alternate bout saw Joachim Hansen withstand an early assault by Indian fighter Kultar “Black Mamba” Gill; Hellboy quickly regained control and put away his outmatched opponent via armbar at the 2:33 mark. Hansen, who had lost to Alvarez at the lightweight GP quarterfinals in May, would now be replacing him in the finals.