MMA: Legend Fight Show 2 Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic vs Alexey Oleinik
MMA is the second sport I like to follow. Though I never tried it myself (I did
try some kickboxing though, close enough :) ), I really enjoy watching it.
Recently on the 8th of November he fought at the “Legend Fight Show 2” in
Moscow. “Legend” is a very young but promising Russian fighting promotion,
which organizes very spectacular shows with real stars and legends of martial
arts. Mirko was invited to fight against Alexander Emelianenko (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Emelianenko). It should have been the rematch of
the decade, because Mirko finished Alexander in 2004 in the first round with
his left high kick. Now Alexander had to take his chance to fight Mirko again,
but he lost it because two weeks before the fight he fought drunk in a bar
against a 63 years old guy, and then it turned out that Alexander did not
prepare properly for the fight against Mirko and the “Legend” authorities
decided to fire him.
Any person who knows at least something about MMA heard the name of Mirko “Cro
Cop”Filipović. It is one of the
greatest strikers in MMA, who holds the titles of 2006 Pride World Grand Prix
Open-Weight Champion, K-1 World Grand Prix 2012 Final Champion, holder of
countless awards for the best fights, best knockouts, awards of the Fighter of
the Year etc. You can read more about him on Wikipedia
I want to say at once that Mirko is truly my favourite fighter though now he is
not at the top of his career and not in his best shape.
So a new fighter was appointed to fight Mirko. It was Alexey Oleinik
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexey_Oleinik), a famous Russian (former
Ukrainian) MMA fighter and grappler. Not to say much, Alexey Oleinik won the
fight in the first round with a neck crank, and Mirko’s performance was quite
And now I’d like to express my thoughts regarding the fight, why Alexey won,
why Mirko lost and why I still believe he can win a rematch. I want to
highlight that I am not MMA expert and I am just expressing my own personal
The fight itself lasted almost one round and was mostly on the ground. After
the fight I read an interview with Mirko where he told that he wanted to end
the fight with a submission, and I thought “Why the heck did you want to
wrestle Oleinik? He is a professional grappler, he only wrestles. And you are a
I know that Mirko paid great attention to his grappling skills BUT I think he
mostly uses them to to know how to protect himself against wrestlers. He was
told to have one of the best takedown defense and even Fedor Emelianenko did
not manage to finish him on the ground. So the chosen tactics, in my personal
opinion, was quite weird. And that was the first reason of the loss. Everyone
expected great strikes and legendary highkicks, and that was actually what
should have been done to defeat Oleinik.
The second factor is moral. I think Mirko hoped for an easy victory. Alexey
Oleinik being quite famous in Russia and Ukraine, is not really known in other
countries, though he is quite a good fighter. Mirko did not expect serious
opposition and when you have such an attitude to the fight, better do
there. Because anything can happen in a fight and MMA proves that everyday.
Oleinik developed good tactics, pushed his manner of fighting in the ring to
Mirko and we all know the result. And you know which fight it resembles a lot?
The first fight of Mirko and Kevin Randleman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Randleman) in Pride 2004 Heavyweight GP. Mirko
was expected to win that fight easily, but Kevin forced him on the ground and
used his favourite ground and pound technique and finished Mirko. Later it was
called the Upset of the Year. And that was very close to what happened on
“Legend 2” on the 8th of November. In both cases Mirko accepted the manner of
fighting of his opponents and seemed to get lost what to do. But in a rematch
with Randleman Mirkowon with a
guillotine choke and this victory did not even look difficult for him.
The third factor is preparation. Mirko prepared to a striker (because Alexander
is a striker and mostly hits and uses boxing technique). Mirko sparring partner
imitated Alexander’s technique and Mirko prepared for two months. 6 days a
week, 2 trainings a day. That is quite impressive and he really showed serious
dedication and professional approach. And then two weeks before the fight it
turns out that he prepared all his tactics in vain, because his opponent is a
different fighter and moreover a grappler. I really think he was demoralized.
Of course in his interview he said that it doesn’t matter, that he is a
professional and is prepared to fight anyone. What else he could say? But I
really think he was very demoralized, because his preparation was focused on
different things. Possibly he did not even pay a lot of attention to his
takedown defense because was not expecting much of it from Alexander, and that
was the crucial point with Alexey Oleinik.
So generally wrong tactics chosen against a fighter to whom he didn’t prepare
together with low moral made a very bad surprise to Mirko.
And now I want to express my opinion why everything is not so bad actually and
why he still can win the rematch, if it ever happens.
Mirko is an old wolf. He is experienced, he is tough and he still strikes hard
and can win the hardest matches. How to prove it? He won K-1 World Grand Prix
2012. And that is something very valuable. It is not a single fight against
some unknown fighter, it is not some small regional or even national
tournament, it is K-1 World Grand Prix where the toughest kickboxers of the
world fight in uncompromising battles. And all of them I think were younger
than Mirko. But anyway he managed at the age of 38, long after the peak of his
career, to get the title he could not take when he was still young but already
very tough and motivated.
When I first heard about the rematch of Mirko and Alexander, I hoped for
Mirko’s victory, but I understood that he has few chances. Despite his bad
character, Alexander is a good fighter, he is much younger, and Mirko is not in
his best shape. But then I learnt that Mirko won K-1 World Grand Prix, and I
thought that … wow he still can do it. That’s why loss to Oleinik was very
disappointing, but that doesn’t actually mean a lot. If Mirko prepares
properly, he can win the rematch.
What do I think about Mirko’s future career? He is not getting younger, but he
still has some years to fight. He returned to his origins in kickboxing and
proved that he means business. Kickboxing turned Mirko into “Cro Cop” and
striking style in MMA made him a legend of martial arts. There is a very little
chance the he ever returns to UFC and wins a heavyweight belt, because he must
go a long way to prove that he can fight there. But anything can happen in a
fight. He still can try.
All photos to the article were just found on the web, If you have any rights on these photos I will remove the photos on request.