Mirko desperate, Barry hungry
Preview by Brady Crytzer
The co-feature of UFC 115 is guaranteed dynamite as kickboxing greats Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Pat “HD” Barry square off in a heavyweight showdown.
While Barry has made his mark in the UFC as one of the new generation of contenders, “Cro Cop” will be battling as a desperate man as this could be his last chance. Two strikers from two different parts of the world will be squaring off in Vancouver this Saturday. Neither man has any intention of taking this fight to the ground and both perform on the highest levels of technical brilliance. The UFC is premiering in on Canada’s west coast with a card for the ages.
Striking: Wow, just wow. Both Barry and Cro Cop have established themselves as some of the premier pure strikers in the whole of the MMA’s heavyweight division. They are both dynamic and dangerous kickboxers, but there are very pronounced stylistic differences. It may not be possible to say who is better, but an explanation of their approaches should do the trick. Though he is not nearly as accomplished in the kickboxing world as his opponent, Barry has set his 5’9 frame apart by display powerful, swift leg kicks and Tyson-like upper body movement. Though he is shorter than Mirko, he possesses fight ending power in both hands-most notably his hooks. He uses his physical disadvantages well by weaving his way inside of bigger opponents and making them pay with short, hard blows. Cro Cop on the other hand has been a K-1 mainstay for over a decade and became the first European fighter to ever successfully make the move from K-1 to MMA. Cro Cop is a southpaw and a natural counterpuncher with his boxing. He has great confidence in his kicks and often goes on the offensive with violent shin-first blasts to the head and body.
Barry is the shorter fighter and a smart Cro Cop will try to keep space and utilize hard kicks to the body and head. He will however be at a disadvantage as Barry will be pressing forward constantly.
Grappling: There isn’t much to say in this department. Neither man is fighting in this co-feature because they are terribly well rounded. Way back in the mists of yesteryear Mirko displayed good submissions by choking out Kevin Randleman on New Years Eve of 2004. However, that was many moons ago and its basically irrelevant in 2010. Barry found himself on the floor against the monstrous Tim Hague in 2009 and suffered his only Octagon loss as a result.
Neither man has a functional edge on the mat in this fight. To be quite honest I don’t believe either man will be looking to gain one either.
How They Match Up: You’ve heard it here before…MMA is a sport of “What Have You Done for Me Lately.” This fight is no different.
Like many of his Pride FC compadres, the mythology that surrounded Mirko Cro Cop has been dissolved once they “bore witness to the fitness of the modern warrior.” Cro Cop suffered disastrous defeats to Gabriel Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo, and Junior Dos Santos, and it seemed like overnight that his air of invincibility was gone for good.
Barry has said that at one point he kept a poster of Mirko on his wall. Barry is much shorter than the Croatian, but his drive is much greater. Simply put Barry is on the upswing, and Mirko is getting his last chance.
Barry trains at one of the absolute best (and sickeningly underrated) gyms in the world. While it has lacked in the grappling preparation at times, there is no better trainer for a bout with Mirko Cro Cop in the world than Duke Roufus. Barry will be ready for war and he’ll love every minute of it.
This will be a tactical fight as Cro Cop will loosen up early. He will not fear a takedown and he will be incredibly confident. Barry’s technique and speed will be the difference maker in this stand up bout and he will stop him with his hands in rounds two or three.