Cro Cop should hang them up

Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic. (Sun Media files)

Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic. (Sun Media files)

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

This weekend, two PRIDE Fighting Championships veterans proved why they need to retire ASAP.

Kazushi (The Gracie Hunter) Sakuraba was steamrolled by Jason (Mayhem) Miller en route to tapping out for the first time in his over a decade at DREAM 16 in Nagoya, Japan. Then, less than 24 hours later, Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic was knocked out by Frank Mir at UFC 119 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Though some have been calling for Sakuraba (26-14-1, 1 NC) to hang them up for years now, Filipovic (27-8-2, 1 NC) had found some mild success as of late with wins over Anthony (The Hippo) Perosh and Pat (HD) Barry.

However, in one of the worst main events in recent UFC history, Filipovic was completely gun-shy against a tentative Mir (14-5). He looked nothing like the brutal, aggressive fighter who tore through the PRIDE 2006 open-weight grand prix.

Fans in Indianapolis were instead treated to someone who was simply trying not to lose, instead of fighting to win. Then, after 14 minutes of two guys either staring at each other or hugging against the fence, Filipovic was out cold courtesy of a knee from Mir.

Rather than unleash a verbal tirade over the fight, UFC president Dana White voiced his displeasure by refusing to award Mir “Knockout of the Night” honours. This speaks volumes considering that there were no other knockouts on the card.

In the build-up to UFC 119, Filipovic said this could be his last fight. But if he still felt good afterward, he would continue competing in MMA. However, at this point he's hurting his legacy more than his opponents.

If Filipovic had retired when PRIDE folded he would have been remembered as one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport. Despite what has transpired in his career since, he's still deserving of that distinction. He has achieved more in both MMA and kickboxing than most could ever hope to.

There's nothing left to fight for. The killer instinct is gone and his body will likely slow down over the next few years. Filipovic has even admitted that it's tough to wake up and train hard every day. That's a dangerous sign in a sport where motivation is everything and so many young fighters would kill to earn a fraction of his paycheque.

As a fan, Filipovic has always been one of my favourite fighters. If he decides to continue fighting, I will cheer him every time he steps out there, but it's getting harder and harder to watch him do it.

TERRIBLE JUDGING

If it wasn't for the stinker of a main event, UFC 119 would probably be remembered for the incompetent judging.

Both Evan Dunham and Antonio Rogerio (Minotoro) Nogueira were robbed last night.

Dunham (11-1) got off to a rough start against former UFC lightweight champion Sean (The Muscle Shark) Sherk.

Sherk (33-4-1) managed to secure a takedown in the first and busted Dunham open with a vicious elbow. However, as they entered the second round, Dunham began stuffing the shots and utilizing his reach advantage to outstrike Sherk. He also threatened with a number of chokes. The third round was all Dunham as he battered Sherk on the feet.

Despite clearly winning the second and third rounds, two judges inexplicably awarded the fight to Sherk. The decision was met with a loud chorus of boos from the fans in attendance.

Now, here's an SAT question for you.

Fighter A has just won the first of three rounds against Fighter B. However, in the last 10 minutes, Fighter B is continually outstriking Fighter A, who is having trouble with Fighter B's reach advantage and superior technique.

Fighter A is a former NCAA Division I wrestler, yet he's failing on most of his takedown attempts. The ones he does land amount to nothing because Fighter B neutralizes him on the ground is able to get right back to his feet.

Who wins the fight?

If you said Fighter B for his superior striking in a bout where the grappling amounted to nothing in the last two rounds, give yourself a cookie. If you said Fighter A, please slam your hand in a car door.

Nogueira (19-4) landed more significant shots in the last two rounds of the UFC 119 co-main event against Ryan (Darth) Bader. He should have been awarded the bout 29-28, but the three incompetent judges gave every round to Bader (12-0).

This is especially infuriating since Bader did very little in the third round and was getting tagged repeatedly. The second round was closer, but unless a fighter can deal some punishment on the ground or threaten with submissions, basic takedowns are not effective offence.

If Bader was successful in taking the fight to the mat, Nogueira was just as effective for getting back to his feet with a Division I wrestler on top of him.

Since the grappling made up a small portion of the last two rounds – and most of those exchanges saw Bader fail on his takedown attempts – the judges should be looking at the striking. Simply put, Nogueira beat him on the feet.

FULL RESULTS

Frank Mir def. Mirko Filipovic by third-round knockout (Knee)

Ryan Bader def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Chris Lytle def. Matt Serra by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Sean Sherk def. Evan Dunham by split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Melvin Guillard def. Jeremy Stephens by split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

CB Dollaway def. Joe Doerksen by first-round submissio (Guillotine Choke)

Matt Mitrione def. Joey Beltran by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Thiago Tavares def. Pat Audinwood by first-round submission (Guillotine Choke)

Waylon Lowe def. Steve Lopez by split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

T.J. Grant def. Julio Paulino by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Sean McCorkle def. Mark Hunt first-round submission (Straight-Armbar)


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