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Cro Cop Got His Vengeance in Krakow

By: Tom Taylor, FIGHTLAND

"Eight years after Gabriel Gonzaga shut him off with the one of the most thunderous kicks in combat sports history, Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic has finally evened the score. He found his vengeance—the vehicle for which was a beautiful series of elbows—in the main event of UFC Fight Night 64, which went down in Krakow, Poland last Saturday. The come-from-behind, third round TKO marks the Croatian legend’s successful return to the UFC after four fights outside the organization. It was a win for the ages.
"Not surprisingly the victory has blown some wind back into Cro Cop’s sails. Having corrected one of the most severe slips of his of storied career, fans are clamouring for more, eager to see what this patient yet predatory version of the legendary striker is capable of. To that end, as is so often the case with the world’s top fighters (he’s now ranked among the UFC’s top-15 heavyweights), he’s got plenty of options. Let’s take a look at them.
"Perhaps the most notable of Cro Cop’s options follows the story of his win over Gonzaga: having avenged the worse loss of his career, many fans are interested in seeing the legend avenge his other recent losses. Call it the Cro Cop revenge tour.
"In this regard, rematches with Brendan Schaub, and Roy Nelson, both of whom have defeated Cro Cop in the last few years, are fairly appealing (Frank Mir gets a pass because, let’s get real, his win over Cro Cop was a stinker for the ages). Considering the Croatian striker is an impressive 6-0 in rematches, there’s no reason to believe that he couldn’t, in theory, even the score with both Schaub and Nelson.
"Yet it’s important to stay realistic when weighing the options MMA veterans. Yes, Cro Cop looked impressive in Poland, but the man is 40 years old, and while he managed to protect his chin from most of Gonzaga’s offense, that chin remains fragile. Against men like Schaub and Nelson who, even in decline, punch like battering rams, that could be a real problem. And then, of course, there’s the problem that, even if it proved initially fruitful, a Cro Cop revenge tour would eventually lead the Croatian back to Junior Dos Santos, who knocked him senseless in 2009. Unless your name is Cain Velasquez, that’s a scary place to be."
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