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UFC 110 Preview: Can Mirko Cro Cop Fight With Enough Aggression To Beat Ben Rothwell?

That's the million dollar question coming into this fight for Mirko Cro Cop.  In his past few UFC fights, Cro Cop has been very tentative against larger opponents.  Guess what, Ben Rothwell is larger than Mirko Cro Cop as well.  Being tentative has cost Mirko during both of his UFC runs as he continues to let his opponents dictate the flow of the fight.  He relies solely on his left high kick and straight left punch, and when his opponents get too close he pushes forward with both hands to try and shrug them off to create distance.  The Mirko of old used the same tactics, but he was a bit more aggressive at times.  He's always been a counter-striker, but now that's ALL he does albeit less effectively because he's limiting himself to the two techniques above.

SBN coverage of UFC 110: Nogueira vs. Velasquez

Ben Rothwell is coming into this fight after getting destroyed by Cain Velasquez at UFC 104.  The fight was probably stopped a tad too early, but the outcome was inevitable.  Velasquez absolutely dominated him with his wrestling and mauling style.  However, Cro Cop will be just the opposite as Rothwell will not have to worry about being taken down and he's a counter-striker as I mentioned earlier.  Rothwell is the larger fighter will have around a forty pound weight advantage over Mirko.  If he follows the blueprint laid by Cheick Kongo and Junior dos Santos he should find his way to victory.

As mentioned earlier, Cro Cop is coming into this fight after losing via TKO to rising contender Junior dos Santos.  There's no shame in losing to dos Santos, and Cro Cop did make it to the third round.  However, it was more about survival for Cro Cop than winning in that one.  It's all mental for Cro Cop.  If he could gain some confidence, I think he could still be a decent heavyweight.  However, confidence isn't something you gain by beating the likes of Hong Man Choi, Mostapha Al-Turk, and Tatsuya Mizano.  You must win against good competition, which Mirko hasn't done in about 3 and a half years.  If Cro Cop is a little more aggressive, I think he has the tools to win this fight.  However, if he allows Rothwell to dictate the fight, this would very well be the last time we see Mirko in the cage.  Mirko swears that he is doing all the right things leading up to this fight.  He's changed training camps, got new sparring partners, and appears to believe he isn't quite done.  It all remains to be seen.  This Cro Cop needs to show up again: