Former heavyweight champion Frank Mir made
a largely forgettable fight memorable with one swift strike.
Mir knocked out 2006 Pride Fighting Championships open weight grand
prix winner Mirko “Cro
Cop” Filipovic with a third-round knee in the UFC
119 “Mir vs. Cro Cop” headliner on Saturday at the Conseco
Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Filipovic fell prey with just 58
seconds remaining in the match.
“It looked kind of ugly to be honest,” Mir said, “but I guess it’s
better to pull of an ugly win than an ugly loss.”
The two men spent much of their encounter trading sporadic punches
and neutralizing one another in the clinch along the cage. The
crowd showered them with disapproval, their matchup hampered by
lack of aggression. Then, in the final minute, Mir caught Cro Cop
leaning in with a left hand and pulled his head into the
fight-ending knee strike. A pair of follow-up punches finished off
the Croatian on the ground, as referee Herb Dean moved
in on his behalf.
The defeat snapped a two-fight winning streak for Filipovic, whose
participation in the main event was put in jeopardy by an eye
injury suffered during training. Once one of the world’s most
feared heavyweights, the 36-year-old now stands at a mediocre 4-4
inside the UFC.
“My strategy was to take him down, but his takedown defense is
good,” said Mir, who never got Filipovic to the ground. “I was
trying to do well. Mirko’s dangerous.”
In the co-main event, undefeated “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8
winner Ryan Bader
scored with takedowns in all three rounds and notched a unanimous
decision against world-ranked Pride Fighting Championships veteran
Rogerio Nogueira. All three judges sided with Bader by matching
“I didn’t want to engage too much,” Bader said. “The good thing
about being a wrestler is keeping them guessing and dictating where
the fight goes.”
Bader zoomed out to a quick lead, as he took down Nogueira with a
little less than three minutes remaining in the first round and
belted him with heavy ground-and-pound. Two standing-to-ground
punches bounced Nogueira’s off the canvas. A three-time Pac-10
Conference champion and two-time collegiate All-American wrestler
at Arizona State University, Bader used his considerable wrestling
chops to neutralize Nogueira’s technical boxing advantage for long
stretches in the fight.
Still, Nogueira had his moments. A knee to the body took the steam
out of Bader in round two, and he scored successfully on his feet
throughout the third. However, Bader delivered two more takedowns
in round three, moved to 5-0 inside the Octagon and set up a
potential showdown with light heavyweight wunderkind Jon Jones. The
defeat snapped Nogueira’s seven-fight winning streak.
In a showdown that took place entirely on the feet, Chris Lytle
outboxed and outclassed Matt Serra en
route to a unanimous decision, avenging his 2006 defeat to the
former UFC welterweight champion. All three judges scored it 30-27
in Lytle’s favor.
Lytle got his
“He went for it the whole time,” said Lytle, who evened his record
at 9-9 inside the Octagon. “I can definitely respect the guy.”
The two men stood and traded for the duration, and neither of them
threw a kick until Serra fired one at the legs with 17 seconds
remaining in the second round. By then, he had taken a beating, as
Lytle scored with heavy power punches, the right uppercut chief
among them. He had Serra in trouble on more than one occasion but
could not finish the notoriously tough East Meadow, N.Y.
“I wanted to do or die,” said Serra, who left the cage with cuts
and abrasions near his left eye. “I knew if I stopped him it would
say something. It wasn’t my night. Chris is a stud. He deserves all
Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk, in
his first appearance in more than a year, took a controversial
split decision from the world-ranked and previously unbeaten
Dunham. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them for
Sherk looked like his old self in the first round, as he worked
through a pair of tight guillotine choke attempts, took down Dunham
and opened a wicked lateral gash near his right eye with an elbow
from half guard. Bleeding profusely, Dunham survived round one and
switched gears as the battle deepened.
“The chokes were very tight,” Sherk said. “I’ve got a big neck,
fortunately. I’m very hard to choke.”
Dunham answered in the second and third rounds, as he managed to
stay upright. He wobbled the former titleholder with a head kick
less than 20 seconds into round three, rose immediately after a
Sherk takedown and scored with powerful striking combinations:
knees, punches and kicks. By the end of the fight, the tide had
clearly turned, but Sherk walked away with a decision.
“I thought it could go either way, to be honest with you,” said
Sherk, a 37-year-old Minnesota Martial Arts Academy product who
improved to 7-4 inside the Octagon.
Dunham tasted defeat for the first time in 12 professional
appearances, though the crowd, vocal with its displeasure, believed
he deserved a better fate.
“It is what it is,” Dunham said. “You never can tell what the
judges are thinking. I do want to win -- always -- but I was just
Overwhelming speed trumped power, as Melvin
Guillard defeated Jeremy
Stephens by split decision in a featured lightweight matchup.
Two of the three cage-side judges sided with Guillard by 29-28 and
30-27 counts. A third dissented, scoring it 29-28 for Stephens.
Stephens planted an off-balance Guillard on his backside with a
counter right hand during their opening exchange but spent much of
the remainder of the fight swinging and kicking at air. Guillard
fought a smart tactical match, as he bounced in and out of the
pocket, scored effectively with punching combinations and kept
Stephens at bay with a steady diet of front kicks to the body and
stiff jabs to the face.
Visibly frustrated, Stephens made a run at it late, as the
24-year-old Des Moines, Iowa, native attacked Guillard with kicks
to the legs and punches to the body. Though Guillard’s third-round
output was limited to a few exchanges and a nice jumping knee to
the head, he had done enough to swing the fight in his favor.