In honor of veteran Mirko “Cro Cop’s” return to the octagon, we take a look back at his signature head kicks that put him on the map in MMA and Kickboxing. From his heyday in K-1 Kickboxing and Pride FC, here are Cro Cop’s top 4 head kick KO’s.
#4- Cro Cop vs. Ricky Nickolson, K-1
Cro Cop looked took Ricky Nickolson to school early in this K-1 bout early in his kickboxing career. Quickly capitalizing in the clinch battle, Cro Cop threw shot after shot to the body before throwing his signature left head kick. When Nickolson shook it off, Cro Cop set up with a left to the body and crushed with a head kick from his lead right leg.
Cro Cop vs. Igor Vovchanchyn
Igor Vovchanchyn and Cro Cop were finding their range with little progress in the start of the first. Constantly circling to his left, Vovchanchyn was respecting Cro Cop’s kicking range. Working with his jab and attempting to clinch with Cro Cop didn’t prove to be successful. At 1:55, Cro Cop pushed forward with two lefts to change the pace. Stop the clip at 1:59 to see Vovchanchyn’s right hand up by his head for protection, because less than a second after he brings it back down, Cro Cop’s signature left head kick comes charging in for the finish.
Cro Cop vs. Alexander Emelianenko
Cro Cop opened his fight with Emelianenko by getting a bead with constant circling to his left. Despite Emelianenko’s aggression, Cro Cop gets the best of it with body kicks and a knee to the head when he was forced to the corner of the ring. Cro Cop turned the tables at 1:34 when he managed to outmaneuver his opponent and trap him in the corner, peppering him with a flurry of crosses and uppercuts until he tossed Emelianenko to the center of the ring.
Letting Emelianenko stand, he took a knee to the head from the clinch before outmaneuvering Emelianenko into the corner again and ducking under his right hook. Again, to get a look at Cro Cop’s speed with the left kick, pause the clip at 2:18 to see Emelianenko’s right hand by his ear. As soon as it drops, it’s lights out with the left kick.
#1 Cro Cop vs. Wanderlei Silva Pride: Final Conflict Absolute
Cro Cop didn’t put up with any “Axe Murder” business, using his footwork and counters to combat Wanderlei’s aggression. Cro Cop was taking it to Wanderlei in his guard until they were stood up. Constantly circling the action to the left, Wanderlei’s right hand came out too far in front at 4:14 and Cro Cop connected on a hard left hook. Silva’s cut on his right eye was attended to by his corner, but would be a bad visual impairment for Cro Cop’s special weapon.
Stood up at 10:49, Silva was carded for stalling. The fatigue and Damage to Silva made him much less mobile and sharp in the fight. With one last charge at 11:50, Cro Cop gets out of trouble from the assault. At 12:02, his set up for the fight comes together. Cro Cop was sending that left leg to the body many times during the fight so that Silva would anticipate the kick going low. Silva’s right hand is just low enough at 12:09 for Cro Cop’s left leg to come over the top for the KO.