Gonzaga Upsets Filipovic; Fight for Title Looms Next
Gabriel Gonzaga beat Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic with Filipovic’s own signature move, albeit with the other foot.
A right kick to the head knocked out the heavily favored Croatian with nine seconds remaining in the first round yesterday in Ultimate Fighting Championship 70 from the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England.
The win earned Gonzaga a fight with heavyweight title holder Randy Couture and marked the second straight stunning upset. Matt Serra knocked off welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in UFC 69.
The Brazilian Gonzaga (8-1) was not even on the pre-fight press conference with reporters. Filipovic (24-5-2) entered with a reputation as the hardest kicker in the world and was coming off an impressive win over Eddie Sanchez in his first UFC bout.
“He’s a solid fighter, a tough guy,” Filipovic said before the fight. “ He won’t hesitate to fight toe- to- toe if he has to. I have to be careful.”
As was heard on Nova TV, a Croatian television network, Filipovic said that yesterday’s fight may be his last. Before the fight, Filipovic expressed a desire to return to the Croatian police force. Last September, Filipovic won the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix and said afterward that if he had not won, it would have been his last match.
Gonzaga now has a 4-0 UFC record with other victories against Kevin Jordan, Fabiano Scherner and Carmello Marrerro. Gonzaga is trained in Brazilian jujitsu and was expected to try to take the fight to the mat, making his knockout kick even more surprising.
“I believe Gonzaga is a different kind of a fighter [than me],” Filipovic had said before the fight.
Turns out he just put a different twist on Filipovic’s famous move.
Lyoto Machida beat David Heath by unanimous decision, England native Michael Bisping earned a technical knockout against Elvis Sinosic, and Andrei Arlovski beat Febrico Werdum by unanimous decision in the other bouts.