CroCop replaces Nogueira in UFC 119 Main Event at Conseco by wesreynolds

by Wes Reynolds

UFC President Dana White confirmed earlier this afternoon that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been forced the pull out of the September 25th main event at Conseco Fieldhouse with a hip injury. Nogueira had been scheduled to fight Frank Mir in a rematch of their December 2008 fight where Mir defeated Nogueira to win the interim UFC Heavyweight Championship. White also confirmed that Mir will now face Croatian striker Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic in the main event.

Filipovic is known as “CroCop”, which is short for  Croatian Cop. CroCop is a member of the Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit, Croatia’s elite Police Special Forces tactical unit. He was also a member of Croatian Parliament from 2003 to 2007. CroCop comes into this fight with a 27-7-2 record and has won four of his last five fights including a rear naked choke submission win over young prospect Pat Barry this past June at UFC 115 in Vancouver, BC,  Canada.

CroCop is primarily known as a striker and kickboxer (23-7 record) as evident by his 20 wins by way of knockout. CroCop’s last fight was put together for Barry to get a showcase win over a legendary name in MMA, but in mixed martial arts, things don’t always go as planned. CroCop was seen by many observers as too old, washed up and way past his prime.

Originally and perhaps still scheduled to headline the UFC 122 November event in Oberhausen, Germany, CroCop will now face Mir in a battle of striker vs. grappler. Mir has improved his striking dramatically, but he makes his money on the ground as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Eight of his thirteen victories are via submission. Mir would obviously be better served to take this fight to the ground and not stand on the feet with CroCop. CroCop, while a little older now, is still a dangerous striker with knockout power via both punching and kicking. After all, any fighter who has Duran Duran’s “Wild Boys” as his ring entrance music and can get away with it has to be a bad dude.

This is actually a better fight to headline this card due to the contrast in styles. Mir will undoubtedly be favored to win this fight according to the oddsmakers, but a simulated fight from the video game UFC Undisputed 2010 between the two combatants produces a different result.

We all find out what the result will be at UFC 119 on September 25th at Conseco Fieldhouse.

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