Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic -- at one point in his prestigious career considered the most feared striker in the heavyweight division -- fell face first to the canvas (again) at the hands of Brendan Schaub last night at UFC 128: "Shogun vs. Jones."
Long gone are the days of Filipovic's impressive takedown defense, tremendous reflexes and decapitating head kick ability. He was once again outgunned by a younger and stronger opponent, suffering his fifth loss inside the Octagon and perhaps his last.
That's right, UFC President Dana White indicated at the UFC 128 post fight press conference that Filipovic likely competed for the last time for the promotion at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Let's find out what went wrong:
For what it's worth, "Cro Cop" came into the fight in shape and went down swinging, unlike his most recent lackluster performance against Frank Mir. He even uncorked several high kicks, which the "New Breed" was able to dodge,
The action began with Schaub immediately circling left and pushing the pace against the elder Croatian. From there the two clinched against the cage and Schaub landed some short punches. Then the former collegiate football player scored a takedown that put "Cro Cop" on his back. Again, Filipovic ate several knuckle sandwiches while in his guard, but managed to work his way up back to the feet and fight hard until the bell sounded.
"Cro Cop" opened the second round with one of his patented left head kicks, but there wasn't a lot of mustard behind it and Schaub secured another takedown. Once on his back, the Croat landed an upkick when Schaub was on his knee and referee Herb Dean called a timeout and warned Filipovic about the illegal strike.
The action picked back up with Schaub initiating the clinch and putting "Cro Cop" against the fence, landing a few more small shots, but then the two men would fight for position against the fence. Filipovic bloodied the nose of Schaub against the fence with an elbow, and Schaub responded with an illegal blow to the back of his head.
Dean separated the pair again, but this time it was to deduct a point off of Schaub for landing another strike to the back of Filipovic's head. The round ended with "Cro Cop" bettering Schaub on the feet and it was anyone's fight heading into the final frame.
"Cro Cop" landed a solid inside leg kick to open the action up, but Schaub secures another takedown, albeit momentarily as the Croatian got back to his feet. It wasn't long after that Schaub continued finding success with two more takedowns. From there Schaub worked some more diligent ground n' pound.
Half-way through the round, the two fighters got back to their feet and "Cro Cop" would attempt another left roundhouse kick, which Schaub caught perfectly with a straight right that sent the Croatian violently to the canvas at 3:44 in the round.
"It was my birthday yesterday, so a knockout bonus would be nice, Dana," Schaub said after the fight.
And so it ended, with Schaub possibly putting a ribbon on Filipovic's legendary fighting career, handing "Cro Cop" his third knock out loss in the Octagon and, in the process, earning a $70,000 "Knockout of the Night" bonus.
With the win over "Cro Cop", "The Hybrid" moves his UFC record to 4-1 and has won all of his last four bouts in a row.