Croatian striker and MMA legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic proved many of his critics wrong this evening as he toppled young lion Patrick Barry in the co-main event of UFC 115: Liddell Vs. Franklin.
Things looked bad early for Cro Cop as he was dropped twice by right hands from Barry. He bounced back quickly both times but was aided by the fact that Barry did not attempt to follow him to the ground. Filipovic started to turn the momentum in his favor at the end of the round though as he took Barry down and landed a nice combo to punctuate the first round.
The second round was all Cro Cop as he showed versatility in his striking game and instituted his rarely used ground game. He capitalized on Barry’s basically non-existent ground skills by going for a guillotine after knocking Barry off balance and taking full mount before transitioning into back mount and trying for a rear naked choke as the clock wound down.
Round three started off with some nice exchanges before Cro Cop actually landed an axe kick on Barry. Filipovic got dropped again with a right hand but popped back up quickly and looked to make Barry pay. After some more exchanges that saw Cro Cop pushing forward, the former Croatian parliamentarian put Barry down with strikes and finished him with a rear naked choke, his first submission victory since he defeated Josh Barnett with strikes at Pride Final Conflict Absolute in 2006.
Cro Cop came back in fairly spectacular fashion tonight but showed some chinks in his armor when he dropped to Barry’s punches; had Barry followed him to the ground the fight could have had a very different outcome. Still, Cro Cop looked better than he has in several fights and although he has much to prove in the heavyweight division he earned himself a win over a solid competitor in Pat Barry and showed that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. It will be interesting to see who Filipovic takes on in his next fight and how he fares; if he keeps up this pace he may deliver to fans the comeback story that they will not see from Chuck Liddell.