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Fight Archives: Mirko Cro Cop makes opponent quit to leg kicks

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A throwback to one of Mirko Cro Cop’s most devastating finishes.

Hidehiko Yoshida v Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic - Pride Openweight Grand Prix 2006
Mirko Cro Cop shows why he’s touted as one of the most brutal kickers of all-time.
Photo by Sankei via Getty Images

I’ll go out on a limb and say quitting to strikes could be the most demoralizing way to lose a fight.

Liver shot TKOs, I’d say, are the nastiest. Your head says, “Fight on!” but your body goes, “Forget about it, I’m done!” We’ve seen high-level combatants fold and falter with their faces grimacing in ungodly, unexplainable pain. At that point, you really have no choice but to quit.

Leg kick finishes come in a close second. But unlike a vicious blow to the liver, this one will make you second-guess yourself for a few moments. One minute, you’re thinking “I’m good” as you walk gingerly on that compromised limb. The next minute, you’re going “Nah, screw it. It’s over.”

This is likely what Hidehiko Yoshida experienced when he decided to step inside the PRIDE FC ring against the legendary Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.

It’s probably worth noting that this fight happened in 2006, 13 years after the style vs. style spectacle that spawned the sport that we know and love today. So I’m not sure how wearing a gi served Yoshida well, unless he was doing it solely to honor his judo roots.

Right off the bat, you could see which one of the two was the more comfortable man fighting on the feet. Cro Cop wasted no time inflicting damage, landing two hard kicks on Yoshida’s lead leg within the first minute.

Yoshida tried his best to engage in a clinch battle and attempt a throw, to no avail. He even tried his cute little version of a head kick finisher, which got him nowhere.

But the story of the fight was the leg kicks. I counted a total of ten before Yoshida decided he wanted no more of this. Perhaps Cro Cop wanted to mix things up this time and opted for “right leg, crutches,” instead.

You’ll likely find other noteworthy Mirko Cro Cop finishes, like when he murdered Wanderlei Silva in 2006 or when he exacted revenge on Gabriel Gonzaga in 2015. But this one takes the cake for me.