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UFC 128 Fight Card Primer: Brendan Schaub vs. Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic

Cro Cop vs. Schaub, photo via
Cro Cop vs. Schaub, photo via

Heavyweights Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (27-8-2, 4-4 UFC) and Brendan Schaub (7-1, 3-1 UFC) do battle on the main card of UFC 128. The bout will air on the pay-per-view broadcast.

How do these guys stack up?

Cro Cop: 36 years old, 6'2", 73" reach
Schaub: 28 years old, 6'4", 78" reach

What have they done lately?

Cro Cop: L Frank Mir (KO), W Pat Barry (SUB), W Anthony Perosh (TKO)
Schaub: W Gabriel Gonzaga (DEC), W Chris Tuchscherer (TKO), W Chase Gormley (TKO)

How did these guys get here?

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic will forever hold a place in the hearts of MMA fans for his sheer volume of thunderous knockouts in PRIDE. No one had ever brought legitimate kickboxing skills to mixed martial arts with the same kind of success. While Maurice Smith was the high water mark prior, Cro Cop came into PRIDE and knocked out opponent after opponent with head kicks, body kicks, punches and even began to incorporate submissions into his game. After winning the 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix, PRIDE was bought by the UFC and Cro Cop entered the Octagon. He looked "off" in defeating Eddie Sanchez and then lost to Gabriel Gonzaga by way of a shocking head kick knockout. A lackluster loss to Cheick followed and suddenly Mirko was back out of the UFC.

A few wins in Japan and Dana White & Co. came calling again. Mirko stopped Mostapha Al-turk with punches in his comeback at UFC 99 before running into a truck in Junior dos Santos in his next bout, losing by TKO. Two wins followed before what was probably Mirko's saddest performance to date. At UFC 119 he faced Frank Mir in what was a bout that featured almost no action at all. The once fearsome striker seemed to refuse to pull the trigger while Mir held him against the cage, at one point the two even seemed to be talking and laughing during the round. Finally in the third round, Mir landed a knee and Cro Cop dropped.

Brendan Schaub came out of the University of Colorado to play on the Buffalo Bills practice squad for a brief time before entering the world of mixed martial arts. He made his way onto the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter where he finished as runner-up after being knocked out by Roy Nelson in the finals. Following the Nelson bout fans saw huge growth over his next three fights. Schaub blitzed Chase Gormley in 47 seconds and Chris Tuchscherer in 67 seconds. A fight with Gabriel Gonzaga followed and Schaub looked great for most of the fight, using his speed and power to avoid trouble for the majority of the bout. He now looks to add a win over a legend to his resume as he tries to work his way up into the top of the division with fighters like Junior dos Santos, Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez.

Why should you care?

The outcome seems fairly predictable given Cro Cop's fading over the past several years, but he still has the ability to end a fight with one strike. Schaub needs to be careful if he is to continue his elevation in the heavyweight division.