Boxing/MMA

Mir Favored Over Cro Cop at UFC 119

| by Ian Palmer

UFC 119 is ready to roll on Sept. 25 in Indiana. With the main event featuring former heavyweight champ Frank Mir against Mirko Cro Cop in Indiana, it should be a good clash of fighting styles. Mir is an excellent submission artist, while Cro Cop is the best knockout specialist to come out of the Pride Fighting Championships.

However, one-dimensional fighters are at a disadvantage these days. Mir’s last two victories were from strikes -- he sent kick boxer Cheick Kongo to the deck with a wicked left hand and then choked him out. Before that, he easily beat ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira, on his feet by a second-round TKO.  Cro Cop’s last fight was a toe-to-toe brawl with Pat Barry, and he ended up winning on a rear choke for the first submission victory in his short UFC career.

These fights showed each man could win a bout by alternate methods, which makes this bout quite interesting. Will it be won on the ground or on the feet? Realistically, Mir’s not going to lose this by submission unless he gets floored first from a strike. Mir’s just way better than Cro Cop on the ground. For Cro Cop to win this, he must rely on his shins and fists, but Mir can win it either way.

For Crop Cop:

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-- He must be at the top of his game to have a chance in this one and needs to stay on his feet as long as possible. But Mir’s just as good on his feet as Cro Cop, so you can see the dilemma he’s facing when it comes to tactics.

-- He might be better off if he uses his legs as his main source of attack as they’re his strength really. He’s good at chopping away at opponents’ legs with kick after kick, sort of like chopping down a tree until it’s ready to fall. Mir will definitely want to stay away from Cro Cop’s high kick. But as he defends against it, he’s going to leave his legs and midsection open.

-- He has to be careful if he’s planning on using his feet though, as it’ll give Mir a good opportunity to take him down. But, Mir’s not the greatest takedown artist in the world, so it could be difficult to do. Therefore, we may end up seeing a kickboxing contest in this bout between the two southpaws.

-- He needs to keep Mir on the defensive though, so he’s not in good position for a takedown. He can do this by firing off some outside low kicks and digging into Mir just above his knee. Mir should have his right hand up high to defend from a high kick, making it hard to catch the low kick. If Mir tries to bring his hand down to hold off the low blows he’ll then be open for a high kick that could end the fight.

Like most big matches these days, this one’s tough to call. The key here is if Cro Cop is confident enough of attacking or if he hangs back in fear of being taken down. If he hangs back, he’ll probably pay for it in the end by having to tap out.

The bookmakers seem to think Mir has the advantage here as bet365 has the odds of him winning at 4/11 and the odds of Cro Cop taking it at 2/1. William Hill has the odds for Mir at 1/3 and Cro Cop at 9/4.