Eight years ago, Gabriel Gonzaga shocked the mixed martial arts (MMA) universe, "Cro-copping" Mirko Filipovic with a sensory-separating head kick.
"Napao" could not repeat history today (Sat., April 11, 2015) in their Heavyweight rematch, which served as the UFC Fight Night 64 main event inside Krakow Arena in Krakow, Poland. And Cro Cop's devastating elbows are to blame.
Gonzaga got the action started with a right hand that pushed Cro Cop back against the cage. He continued to push forward for the first two minutes, while Cro Cop barely engaged, throwing jabs off his back foot as he retreated.
Midway through the first round, Gonzaga was able to get the fight on his terms, securing a takedown and, moments later, full mount. Cro Cop was able to slide out, and in the process, attempt a heel hook on the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace.
Gonzaga was able to defend and reverse the submission. In the ensuing scramble, Gonzaga landed back in the Croatian's guard, which is where the round ended.
In the second round, Cro Cop whiffed on a head kick as Gonzaga ducked and dove in for an aggressive takedown attempt that never materialized. Cro Cop later landed a nice uppercut, but Gonzaga bum-rushed the former Pride FC Grand Prix winner and dumped him in corner.
After eating several shots from the bottom, Gonzaga was eventually able to secure full mount again, where he postured up and began to unload. With 20 seconds to go, Gonzaga landed two really good elbows that split open Cro Cop near the left eye.
In the third round, it appeared that both fighters took off the first two minutes before the action started off a clinch along the fence. Cro Cop landed a clean standing elbow that staggered Gonzaga, and then several more as the fight hit the mat.
Gonzaga struggled to defend and Cro Cop just went nuts, unloading a series of crushing elbows that destroyed Gonzaga's face and forced the referee to step in and stop the match.
What a comeback for the MMA legend. Redemption, too.
For complete results from UFC Fight Night 64: "Gonzaga vs. CroCop 2," including play-by-play updates, click here.