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Reluctant Mir, Crocop Mar UFC 119 Main Event

Mirko CroCop is a legend Mirko CroCop is a legend

It was one of the least anticipated UFC cards in recent memory, and UFC 119 lived up to its lack of billing. The night was markedly short on decisive outcomes. In some cases, hard fought seesaw battles provided entertainment, as in the case of Joey Beltran vs. Matt Mitrione, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Ryan Bader. But in the featured match of the night, Frank Mir vs. Mirko CroCop Filipovic, the two fighters refused to take sufficient risk to establish a compelling pace.

CroCop is an MMA legend, holding KO victories over some of the sport’s top stars. But it seems as if the aging Croatian’s best days are behind him. Recent interviews and in-ring performances suggest that the former Pride Open Weight Grand Prix champion has grown indifferent to competition.

Indeed, you never know which CroCop is going to enter the ring – the knockout artist of yesterday or the dispassionate fighter of recent memory. It was definitely the latter in Indianapolis on Saturday night.

Making matters worse was Frank Mir. The 31-year-old is trying to get himself back on track after a pair of recent losses in the heavyweight division, but did little to increase his stock against CroCop. Mir looked lethargic through 14 minutes of martial arts, and only managed to partially redeem himself with the knee strike to CroCop’s chin that gave him the KO victory.

Perhaps CroCop can be forgiven. His last fight was at UFC 115, where he seemed to have returned to form against Pat Barry. He took this fight on short notice, and said when he accepted it that he wouldn’t be able come 100% prepared, but that he was willing to step in for the injured Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to help out the company.

But while Rodrigo sat out, his twin brother Antonio Rogerio Nogueira competed in the co-main event. Nogueira ran into the red hot Ryan Bader, and put up a valiant fight, but in the end, lost a clear decision to the younger fighter.

Also on the night, Chris Lytle edged out Matt Serra via unanimous decision. For Serra, who was once thought to be nearing retirement, to have gone the full 15 with a lights out fighter like Lytle speaks well for the New Yorker’s resolve.

The main card also featured a pair of split decisions - Melvin Guillard defeated Jeremy Stephens, and Sean Sherk made a successful return to the octagon after a long layoff with a win over Evan Dunham.

UFC 119 had its share of excitement, but was a little short on highlight reel moments. Frank Mir and Mirko CroCop Filipovic turned in lackluster performances in the main event, such that we’re unlikely to see either of them headlining any time soon. Chris Lytle stretched his winning streak to four, while Ryan Bader continued to climb the light heavyweight ladder and now boasts a perfect 12-0 record.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 10:14

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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