Announced earlier this week, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic did not sign with Bellator MMA despite being in talks with President with Scott Cocker. Instead, the K-1 and Pride FC star has returned to the UFC for the first time since 2011. Cro Cop will now headline the main event against Gabriel Gonzaga in Fight Night 64, the UFC’s first ever event held in Poland. After a KO loss to Gonzaga in UFC 70, can Cro Cop earn rematch retribution?
Since his release from the UFC, Cro Cop (30-11-2) has gone 3-1 in his last 4 MMA bouts and 7-1 in his last 8 kickboxing bouts. His scheduled fight against Gonzaga marks his second return to the UFC in his seasoned career. His striking expertise is legendary, famous for his signature head kick knockouts. Where Cro Cop may lack in youth against Gabriel Gonzaga, he exceeds in technical striking ability.
Gabriel Gonzaga (16-9) is currently on a 2-fight skid, losing a decision to Stipe Miocic and Matt Mitrione by TKO. While Cro Cop has the striking edge on paper, Gonzaga gave Cro Cop a highlight reel head kick KO to earn the next heavyweight title shot against Randy Couture. He is a 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and an extremely skilled competitor on the ground.
Fight Night 64
This is a high stakes fight for both competitors’ careers. Cro Cop needs a good first impression for a second return to the UFC. A win over a formerly victorious Gonzaga makes a good case that he can stay competitive. While not a rule set in stone, there is always a reason to be nervous in the UFC after two consecutive losses. A third loss for Gonzaga against Cro Cop is a dangerous place to be in the organization.