Gon­zaga Up­sets Filipovic; Fight for Ti­tle Looms Next

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sunday Morning On The Air - By Ryan Mink

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.

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