File Photo: Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Patrick Barry
This fight is basically the final referendum on Filipovic’s UFC career, which has been a massive disappointment up until now. That’s likely the reason why he’s being paired up with ninja-in-training Pat Barry. A loss here and the history books will remember Filipovic just as much for his disastrous Octagon run as his PrideFC KO spree.
That makes Barry’s role in this play all the more bizarre. He grew up an unabashed Filipovic fan and has declared his desire to have the Croatian Jack Bauer sign his face should he end up laid out on the canvas. An unlikely end game, as Barry is precisely the sort of striker that Filipovic has always struggled with dating all the way back to his K-1 days.
Filipovic is a somewhat unusual striker in that he’s a smallish heavyweight who uses a stalking style and rarely strings together more than two strikes at a time. He has never done well against fighters who could step inside his range and beat him with speed. Barry not only has the hand speed to touch Filipovic but the power to finish the job as well. Mix in Barry’s leg kicks and the fight really starts to turn on Filipovic, as he fights heavy on his lead leg, which makes him vulnerable to getting chopped down. Further adding to that vulnerability is Filipovic’s footwork, which worsens with every fight and makes it that much harder for him to get after more nimble opponents like Barry.
No matter how you look at this fight, it all comes back to two things: Time and injuries have practically crippled Filipovic, and Barry has all the tools to pick him apart. If there is something to look out for that favors Filipovic, it’s Barry’s admittedly poor diet and lack of killer instinct. Eating like a frat boy does your cardio no favors. If Barry passes up an early chance to finish, his gas tank may hit zero before he can get another clean shot at Filipovic’s chin.
Sooner or later Barry is going to learn why eating a box of pizza bagels isn’t something professional fighters do, but Filipovic is several years removed from being the sort of fighter who could give him a real fight. It still sounds weird to be so dismissive of the guy who used to be the most feared striker in the sport, but time spares no man and it has been especially cruel to Filipovic. Barry may not be quite so heartless, but his skills are too great for him to do anything but run through Filipovic.