When it was announced that Croatian legend Mirko Filipovic would be competing one last time under kickboxing rules after his disappointing loss to Roy Nelson, many of "Cro Cop's" fans had some serious misgivings.
When it was revealed that he would be facing Ray Sefo, a fighter renowned for his heavy hands despite his age, trepidation began to outweigh excitement, as many feared the K-1 and PRIDE superstar would suffer yet another debilitating knockout.
As it turns out, those fears were unfounded.
While he didn't look like the terror who was once the most feared heavyweight on the planet, Filipovic put on a solid performance, controlling the trash-talking Sefo with heavy left hands and effective work from the clinch. Refreshingly, despite eating an enormous right hand from the powerful Sefo, Mirko was entirely unfazed, and came away with a well-deserved unanimous decision.
Well done, Mirko. Now please retire.The rest of the card, filled with solid Croatian talent and well-regarded veterans, produced some exciting results of its own. The well-traveled Freddy Kemayo took on Igor Jurkovic in an intense, back-and-forth affair that saw the latter pull out the decision victory after an extension round.
Mourad Bouzidi was less fortunate, as he slipped while Mladen Brestovac flung a head kick, resulting in the former eating shin directly to the back of the head, forcing a stoppage.
The real star of the undercard, though, was It's Showtime champion Daniel Ghita, who was coming off a colossal first-round knockout of rival Hesdy Gerges on the card that saw Badr Hari's final kickboxing bout. Ghita's opponent, Sergei Lascenko, looked like a million bucks in the first round, carefully timing the champ's legendary leg and body kicks and responding with hard punches, doing everything in his power to avoid another first-round leg kick stoppage like their previous bout.
About halfway through, though, Ghita caught Lascenko right in the solar plexus with a hard kick, forcing a knockdown. From then on, the bout was decidedly Ghita's, as he tenderized Sergei's torso and landed several glancing head kicks before finally connecting with shin, putting Lascenko down a second time and forcing the referee to intervene.
Schilt rematch, anyone?
For play-by-play of the event and quick results of the remainder of the undercard, click here.