Better Late than Never, Mir KO’s Cro Cop

INDIANAPOLIS, September 25 – For nearly 14 minutes Saturday night, it wasn’t pretty. But in the next few seconds, Frank Mir ended the UFC’s first show in Indianapolis with a bang, knocking out Mirko Cro Cop in the final minute of the third round in the UFC 119 main event at the Conseco Fieldhouse.

Visibly bigger than his foe, Mir stalked Cro Cop at the bell, but time would tell the wisdom of this strategy. By the time the first minute ticked away, Cro Cop stuffed Mir’s initial takedown attempt but got pinned against the fence. In an ensuing exchange, Mir took a low knee, forcing a halt to the action. After a brief pause, the two re-engaged, with each missing shots at close range. Midway through the round, Cro Cop was starting to find his range with his straight left hand, but Mir responded by bulling the Croatian into the fence. After a stalemate, the two broke, but seconds later they were in the same position on the other side of the Octagon. Finally, with 39 seconds left in the round, referee Herb Dean called for a re-start, and while the two locked up again, it was Mir landing a good short right to the head before the bell.

The pace and action in the first half of round two was predictable, as Mir landed a couple of hard punches before sending Cro Cop into the fence, where he smothered any semblance of offense from the former PRIDE star. For his part, Cro Cop was unable to get loose, or when he was free, get any sort of offense going, and the crowd quickly grew restless. So did Dean, who called for another re-start with a minute left. And while Cro Cop threw one of his vaunted left kicks to Mir’s head late in the round, it didn’t come close to landing.

Cro Cop got into the position of aggressor to begin the final round, but Mir’s bouncing movement seemed to throw him off his own rhythm. With two minutes gone, he was able to land a hard shot to the side of the head, but Mir didn’t budge, opting instead to again pin his foe against the fence, which brought another Dean re-start with under two minutes left. Now Cro Cop showed more urgency to finish, but in the process, he left himself open for a counter left knee that sent him hard to the canvas, a follow-up barrage ended matters moments later, with Dean calling a stop to the bout at the 4:02 mark.

With the win, Mir improves to 14-5; Cro Cop falls to 27-8-2 with 1 NC.
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