Saturday June 21, Bloody Elbow presents fight coverage of Glory 17 Los Angeles. Glory 17 airs live on Spike TV, Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET, and is followed by the Last Man Standing PPV at 10. We will have live fight night coverage and discussion right here. Here, we break down the Glory 17 card in our fight by fight preview.
#10 MIRKO CRO COP (22-8 Overall; 0-1 Glory) vs. JARRELL MILLER (22-1 Overall; Glory Debut) - Heavyweight
When Mirko Cro Cop walked away from kickboxing in 2003 to pursue his MMA career full time, he left as the sport's lineal Heavyweight champion and arguably #1 ranked fighter. When he returned 10 years later, he was a very different fighter - the age and wear and tear of a lengthy combat sports career had caught up with him, and the dynamic Cro Cop of old had been replaced by a more methodical and crafty veteran. And yet in spite of these changes, this later era Cro Cop has found great success. He's 6-1 since coming back and that one loss (to Remy Bonjasky at Glory 14) was a highly controversial decision that many, myself included, scored for Cro Cop. But even though I scored that Bonjasky fight for Cro Cop, I do think 6-1 is the right record for his return. Why? Jarrell Miller.
In March 2013, Miller and Cro Cop met in the quarterfinals of the K-1 Grand Prix. Just as would later take place with Bonjasky, this fight ended in a controversial decision, only this time it was Cro Cop receiving the gift decision despite being outmatched by the younger Miller. The fact that the fight took place in Zagreb, Croatia only fueled feelings that Cro Cop had been handed a win he did not deserve.
Now, one year later, the two men rematch in Glory. For Mirko Cro Cop, it's a clutch fight. This is his chance to win on the big stage of the world's top kickboxing organization, to show that he is not done yet, and to show that he earned that win last year. For Miller, it's a chance to right a wrong and make his name on the back of the aging veteran. For both men, the stakes are high for this main event fight.
More Glory 17 Fight Previews:
If you are a Bloody Elbow reader, the chances are good you know the story of Mirko Cro Cop. The kickboxing great turned MMA champion turned kickboxing veteran has done it all in the combat sports world. He's also been in some incredible wars along the way. Now 39, Cro Cop is undeniably in the final stages of his Hall of Fame career, and he has been for some time - you have to go all the way back to his 2006 run through the Pride Grand Prix to find Cro Cop fighting to the best of his abilities. But somehow, he keeps going.
Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller is the lesser known fighter here. The Brooklyn based fighter competed in Muay Thai and the World Combat League (where he holds a win over Pat Barry) before coming to K-1 in 2012. There, he went 2-0 before the controversial loss to Cro Cop. Since that time, Miller has been focused on his boxing career, where he now has an undefeated 9-0-1 record. It seemed Miller was done with kickboxing, at least for the moment, but the allure of a Cro Cop rematch brought him back in.
A large Heavyweight, Miller will have the advantage in terms of power. He likes to push his way inside and fight a tough inside game, landing tight hooks in combinations inside along with knees to hurt his opponents. This is how he scored a great inside uppercut KO of Jack May in K-1. He has used that size and power well in his boxing career, and he'll likely use it again here to hurt Cro Cop.
The big advantage in Cro Cop's corner is that veteran sensibility. Cro Cop has seen it all, and he knows how to use his experience to his great advantage. What he has done best in this recent run is use all manner of technique to keep his opponent out of rhythm. Through clinches, slips, tying up in the ropes, and more Cro Cop constantly forces the action to move at a slower, more single-shot oriented pace - a pace that greatly favors Cro Cop. By refusing to let his opponent get into his own game, Cro Cop expertly dictates the terms of the fight, and he sets those terms to his advantage.
All that said, there is only so far those veteran techniques can take you, and here, Miller is likely to be too much. Look for him to bull his way inside, put on the early pressure, avoid the big shots from Cro Cop, and use his heavy hands to this time definitively score the win he already rightfully earned in 2013.
Prediction: Jarrell Miller by KO