Fight Chatter: Cro Cop or Bob Sapp?

BY David A. Avila ON April 19, 2007
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A cloud of confusion hovers over this weekend as two MMA events are televised on Saturday but they’re not from the same company.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic headlines the UFC card taking place in Manchester while Bob “The Beast” Sapp stars in the Cage Rage 21 card in London. Both take place on Saturday, April 21 and will be available to American viewers.

Filipovic faces Brazil’s Gabriel Gonzaga a jujitsu specialist at the MEN Arena in a fight card called “Nations Collide”. It’s UFC’s second attack on British and European MMA fans.

“The arena is sold out and we have a stacked card,” said Dana White, UFC president.

Also on the fight card will be Ultimate Fighter Michael Bispiing a British native facing Elvis Sinosic. Plus, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovsky pitted against Fabricio Werdum.

But it’s Cro Cop the former Pride FC star that many want to watch.

White says Cro Cop is one of the most dangerous strikers in the world with the ability to knock out an opponent with his patented leg kicks or powerful fists.

“He’s absolutely one of the best strikers in the world,” said White.

Cro Cop, a former commando with an anti-terrorist unit in Croatia, has studied his opponent and concedes that victory is not guaranteed.

“I will do my best that’s the key,” said Cro Cop via telephone conference call. “I have good timing for my kicks and my legs are huge. That’s my strongest weapon of mine.”

Those huge legs allowed him to stun his last opponent Eddie Sanchez during his first appearance with UFC in Las Vegas in February.  Now he faces a different style of fighter who is more comfortable on the ground.

Asked who he wants to fight next he politely refuses.

“I don’t want to jinx myself,” Cro Cop says.

The UFC fight card can be seen on Spike TV at 9 p.m. (ET – PT).

Meanwhile, in London, Cage Rage 21 has Sapp meeting Gary Turner and legendary MMA fighter Vitor Belfort matched against James “The Messenger” Zikic. The fight card dubbed “Judgment Day” takes place in Wembley Arena.

The fight card can be viewed on www.ProElite.com through a video streaming link beginning at 3 p.m. (ET) or 12 p.m. (PT).

Salinas Boxing card

Former television reality boxing star Miguel Espino (14-2-1, 5 KOs) meets Russia’s Sergey “The Bomb” Stepkin (17-1, 9 KOs) at Palm High School in Salinas, California on Saturday April 21.

Espino is a solid middleweight who took part in The Contender boxing reality TV show. He’s one of those fighters that does not care to select who he fights, he just laces his gloves and steps in the ring.

The fight card is promoted by Manny Cota’s Boxing Promotions. For tickets or information call (818) 274-7129. The fight card begins at 5:30 p.m.

Shawn Hawk

Sycuan Ringside Promotions signed cruiserweight Sean “Sioux Warrior) Hawk (13-0-1) of Sioux Falls South Dakota.

Hawk attended the kick off for Joan Guzman and WBO lightweight titleholder Michael Katsidis last Wednesday in Downtown Disney.

The  22-year-old has been bouncing from gym to gym in Southern California to find sparring and last worked with Vadim Tokarev in one of the many boxing sweat boxes in the Los Angeles area.

“I’ve been in L.A. for four months,” said Hawk. “I’ve done some work with Julio Gonzalez too.”

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