Next month, MMA legends Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic and Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva will step into the ring on December 29th in the quarterfinal round of the Rizin FF openweight Grand-Prix. For Cro-Cop, the fight will not only be his second under the Rizin FF banner, but will give him the opportunity to make it 5-straight wins over the course of the last two years. For Silva, the fight will be his first in over three years, with his last fight being a 2013 second round KO win over Brian Stann in Japan in a Fight of the Night performance.
The first time these two fought was in 2002 under the Pride FC banner, in just Cro Cop’s fourth professional fight. The pair fought to a draw, and would have to wait four years before stepping into the ring once again. In 2006 when they stepped into the Octagon at ‘Pride Conflict Absolute’, Cro Cop landed his signature head kick to KO Silva in the very first round in what was the 2006 Pride openweight Grand Prix semifinal. In addition, the KO was the 2006 knockout of the year.
Now, fourteen years after the pair’s first meeting, and ten years following their second meeting, they will once again have the opportunity to step into the ring together and throw leather in a fight which has all the makings of yet another iconic scrap.
In the video above, you can see Cro Cop doing something many are not used to seeing him doing, grappling and working on his takedowns. Filipovic, who is widely believed to be one of the best strikers in the history of MMA’s heavyweight division, has always been comfortable keeping the fight standing, using his precise striking to finish opponents, most notably with his vicious left head kick.
Given that Cro Cop holds a significant size advantage over Silva, do you think he will be looking to surprise The Axe Murderer and control him on the ground? Give us your prediction below PENN Nation!