The Ultimate Fighting Championship continues its global expansion, as today, the promotion has announced that it will hold an event in Krakow, Poland, on April 11th. In addition, the UFC has confirmed that none other than Mr. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will make his Octagon return at the event, and that he will battle Gabriel Gonzaga for a second time…
Now, if you’re new to MMA you might not have seen the actual, entire “Cro Cop”-Gonzaga scrap from 2007, but you’ve definitely seen the finish. Gonzaga bombed “Cro Cop” out with a head kick to win their UFC 70 scrap, and the footage of the knockout has been featured in a bazillion promo reels since.
The loss was particularly shocking, since at the time, Gonzaga wasn’t really known for his striking game, and it also ended “Cro Cop’s” five fight winning streak.
Fast forward to 2015, and “Cro Cop” (30-11-2) has been brought back to the UFC for a third run, after going 3-1 in MMA competition outside the promotion. It’s also worth noting that the Croatian heavyweight has gone 7-1 in kickboxing action since 2011 as well.
Gonzaga (16-9) is looking to get back on track, following a stoppage loss to Matt Mitrione in December, and a decision defeat to Stipe Miocic last January. Prior to the defeats, Gonzaga took out Dave Herman and Shawn Jordan in back-to-back fights.
Not surprisingly, UFC FN 64 will feature one of the promotion’s top Polish fighters, as the promotion has also announced that the nation’s Jan Blachowciz (18-3) will take on light-heavyweight Jimi Manuwa (14-1).
Blachowicz made his Octagon debut in October and quickly took out Ilir Latifi, which ran the fighter’s winning streak to six. Manuwa hasn’t fought since March, 2014, now, when he was stopped by Alexander Gustafsson.
So, there you have it. While fight purists might argue that “Cro Cop”–Gonzaga II doesn’t mean much in the UFC’s title picture, it certainly could draw well, particularly in Poland. It will also be interesting to see whether the 40 year-old Filipovic can avenge the loss and then add a couple more big wins to his storied resume.