UFC names Cro Cop’s first opponent

SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 3:00 PM ET

Heavyweight Eddie Sanchez will be Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s first UFC opponent.

This is only the second UFC fight for the 24-year-old Sanchez, from Temecula, Calif., who sports an MMA record of 8-0-0 in his short career. At UFC 63 he knocked out Mario Neto in the second round.

Despite Sanchez’s striking power, he is given little chance of defeating Filipovic. One comment posted at UFCmania.com was even titled: “Eddie Sanchez: Dead man walking.”

However Filipovic’s 21-4-2 MMA record indicates he’s not invincible.

“He’s a devastating striker; people say he’s the world’s best striker,” Sanchez said on UFC.com. “It’s hard to take him down, so his takedown defense is really good too. But he’s got a suspect chin, so we’re gonna take advantage of that. I’m a humble guy, but I’m telling you, when I land that right hand, he’ll feel it. If I don’t knock him out the first time, the fourth or fifth, he will go down.”

Filipovic, a 32-year-old Croatian, made a name for himself in the K-1 kickboxing and Pride FC promotions in Japan. During his final Pride appearance Filipovic won the 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix tournament, defeating both Wanderlei Silva and Josh Barnett in the same day.

His kicks are considered to be among the most dangerous in MMA. Filipovic has described his kicking prowess as: “Right leg, hospital; left leg cemetery.”

The nickname “Cro Cop” comes from his previous occupation as a member Croatia's police anti-terrorism unit.

Sanchez and Filipovic will meet at UFC 67: All or Nothing on Feb. 3.


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