So he's is going back up to h.w. Damn thats nuts. I really hope that he takes Sylvia out but i think that is a hard fight for him to win
This was in the LA Times:
Fans watching UFC 66 on Dec. 30 to see Chuck Liddell's dismantling of Tito Ortiz to retain the UFC light heavyweight title in what probably was the single most-watched fight in UFC history also saw a mysterious name talked about several times on the show.
Billed as one of the most feared heavyweights in the world, Mirko Cro Cop was announced as debuting on the company's next pay-per-view, on Feb. 3 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Cro Cop will face Eddie Sanchez (7-0) of Vista, California.
Those who are major fans of mixed martial arts probably viewed it as one of the biggest announcements in UFC history. While prior announcements of bringing back people such as Tito Ortiz, Royce Gracie and garnered strong reaction, Cro Cop is at a completely different level at a fighter.
But to the majority of those viewing, who are not regular viewers of the UFC's leading international competitor, Japan's Pride Fighting Championship, the reaction was more likely, "Who is Mirko Cro Cop?"
Well, he's probably the strongest candidate as MMA fighter of the year for 2006. Mirko Cro Cop is the Japanese-created stage name for Mirko Filipovic, originally a kick boxer from Croatia. Filipovic worked as a member of the anti-terrorist unit in the Croatian special services when he first came to Japan. Cro Cop meant Croatian Cop, and the nickname quickly stuck. He became a minor star in 1999 as a kick boxer, going to the finals of the K-1 World Grand Prix tournament, a huge sporting event in the country.
In 2001, K-1, a kickboxing organization, and Pride, a mixed martial arts group, combined for a series of matches. The biggest match pitted Cro Cop, a kick boxer, against Kazuyuki Fujita, who was actually the world heavyweight champion of New Japan Pro Wrestling. While pro wrestling is no more a competitive sport in Japan than the U.S., Fujita at the time was a name star in the MMA world with wins over Ken Shamrock and Mark Kerr, and had been a Japanese national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, so he was a very real competitive athlete. At the time, kick boxers had not fared well in MMA competition, particularly when matched with wrestlers.
There wasn't much to the match. Fujita tried to take Cro Cop down, and Cro Cop caught him with a knee to the head. Fujita, who legitimately has an extra thick skull, shook off the blow almost like a villain in a monster movie, and took Cro Cop down. Unfortunately, he was bleeding all over the place and they had to stop the match with him on top in 39 seconds. Many considered it a hole-in-one like fluke.
On December 31, 2001, Cro Cop faced another New Japan pro wrestler who was a national champion in amateur wrestling, Yuji Nagata. The idea was lightning couldn't possibly strike twice. The key moment of the match was when Nagata closed the distance, and went to throw Cro Cop. Instead, Cro Cop just threw him off. Kick boxers were not supposed to manhandle Greco-Roman wrestlers in the clinch. After that shocking moment, Cro Cop unloaded with a left high kick and Nagata was stopped in 21 seconds.
Nicknamed "The Pro Wrestler Hunter," it now became a story line where various pro wrestlers would face Cro Cop to defend the honor of that profession. In what is still the biggest event of its kind in history, on Aug. 28, 2002, 71,000 fans paid $7.4 million (both still world records for MMA) at Tokyo National Stadium as the 6-1, 225-pound Cro Cop defeated 5-9 1/2, 185-pound Kazushi Sakuraba, a pro wrestler turned MMA legend. It was also the biggest pay-per-view event of any kind in Japan.
His other key match of that time was in kickboxing, when he delivered a first round knockout to Bob Sapp in 2003, where he broke the giant's orbital bone with a straight right. Sapp, a huge, muscular former college football star who never made it in the NFL, at 6-4 and 365 pounds, had become a cultural phenomenon and it was one of the most-watched events on television in Japan that year.
Shortly thereafter, Cro Cop switched from K-1 to Pride, which meant he became full-time in mixed martial arts. There was nobody in the sport who could match his speed and versatility standing. At first, he was hated by Japanese for constantly beating native stars, but in time, his flashy knockouts made him a huge celebrity. In 2004, he was put in the a summer-long heavyweight tournament that was expected to lead to he against Fedor Emelianenko, the world heavyweight champion, in the finals. But in a stunning upset, Kevin Randleman, a former two-time NCAA champion from Ohio State faked a takedown, Cro Cop dropped his hands to defend, and was caught with a right hand over the top for a knockout in one of the most stunning upsets in MMA history.
Cro Cop later avenged the defeat, and went on a seven-match winning streak leading to his title shot at Emelianenko on August 28, 2005. In what is considered the biggest heavyweight fight in history, Emelianenko clearly won the decision to retain.
This past year, with Emelianenko out with a hand injury that required surgery, Cro Cop won Pride's 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix tournament. On Sept. 10th in Saitama, he knocked out Pride's middleweight champion, Wanderlei Silva (who was actually heavier than Cro Cop in the fight) in 5:26 and followed by pulverizing Josh Barnett, who tapped out in 7:32 when he was having trouble seeing. Silva hadn't been knocked out in a fight in almost eight years. Barnett, aside from a prior match with Cro Cop where his shoulder dislocated, hadn't been stopped in more than five years. Emelianenko, by virtue of never losing in Pride and remaining champion for nearly four years, is almost universally regarded as the No. 1 heavyweight in the world. However, Cro Cop, just as universally regarded as No. 2, was the company's most popular foreign star and a bigger drawing card.
UFC President Dana White's signing of Cro Cop to a two-year, six-fight deal marked a major moment in the sport. It can be argued this was the moment that the U.S. established itself as the world's leader in MMA. While arguments will abound over who are the better fighters in different parts of the world, it is clear that until 2006, Japan was the top market for the sport. Through the growth in PPV, UFC is now taking in revenue that the Japanese promotions can't match. For the first time, it can legitimately afford to offer more money to top talent and in doing so, has signed its hottest foreign star.
The uniqueness of MMA as a sport that many in the past year have become fans of but few follow closely has created a dichotomy. White had to pay top dollar to get a fighter whose name value in this country is very small. Cro Cop's potential is gigantic, but he's also coming off ankle surgery to his left foot, the one that delivers those impressive kicks to the side of people's heads that leave them crumbling.
Cro Cop is on a collision course with Tim Sylvia, UFC's 6-8, 265 pound champion. White suggested he wants to make the match as soon as possible, and it's no surprise. Sylvia is the most unpopular champion the company has, due to the fan base not liking his using his reach to out jab his opponents. He was booed heavily in his last fight on Nov. 18 in Sacramento against Jeff Monson. Cro Cop, on the other hand, is a human highlight reel, but with the North American fan base, aside from those who have seen tapes of his fights on FSN's Pride shows, he's an unknown. The reaction in Las Vegas to the signing being announced showed the amount of fans familiar with him was not very high. And with Pride and UFC not on the best business relations, UFC can't show Cro Cop's spectacular knockouts on its various Spike TV television shows to promote him.
Provided everything goes according to plans, which means both win their next fights and neither gets injured, the showdown would probably be in early summer. Sylvia defends on March 3 in Columbus, Ohio, on PPV, although the opponent has not been finalized.
damn i just noticed this
A post-fight test has revealed that welterweight contender Thiago Alves tested positive for the banned substance Spironolactone, a diuretic, following his win over Tony DeSouza at UFC 66. Alves faces a possible fine and suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
That sucks i like Alves.
No one hold me to this, but apparantly there is a big rumor going around right now that Zuffa has bought out PRIDE. Apparantly Zuffa made an offer on January 6th and PRIDE accepted today. This is only a rumor right now, so its best to take it with a grain of salt, but with the way things have been going these past few weeks with MMA i wouldn't really be 100% shocked if this one were true.
Although, I don't think that this is a good fight for Couture to come back for and I think that Sylvia has such an awkwrd style that can quite often catch a technical fighter, I have Couture winning by endurance and ground and pound. Sylvia fights in one direction front to back. Couture is great at angles and the clinch. Look for couture on the takedown. If sylvia beats him with a sprawl then Randy just ends up in a clinche. Either way couture wins.
Yeah i meant tim silvia he's a pile of shit someone needs to take his ass out so he'll quit bringing the hw class down i mean if you have a title match and you get booed you know there's something wrong he's not exciting at all all he does is use his height to jab his opponent out. so he's tall as hell and puches hard. i think if Randy couture brings his A game he'll beat silvia then if couture wins then come Mirko who is an animal of a fighter. then i think the hw class will start geting more exciting.
also i think there's a hw named brandon vera who's pretty good i think he beat frank mir not to long ago vera should be exciting. i think some of these younger , newer guys will bring some more depth. its definately need