Up first is the legendary Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. last-minute Australian replacement Anthony "The Hippo" Perosh at heavyweight.
Cro Cop's original opponent, Ben Rothwell, pulled out of the fight this week after coming down with some sort of ailment while in Australia. This is a pretty winnable fight for Cro Cop even if it weren't on short notice, and even taking into account that the Mirko Cro Cop we've seen lately isn't the stone cold killer he used to be.
Round 1: Perosh got a very nice hometown reaction during Bruce Buffer's introductions. Perosh tries early to close the distance while Cro Cop throws kicks and hands. Perosh gets the right leg and fights for a single leg takedown. Cro Cop successfully sprawls and breaks the attempt. Cro Cop stalks Perosh and hits a right-left combo, with the left sending Perosh into a backpedal. Perosh ties Cro Cop up, which doesn't go anywhere before Cro Cop forces the separation. Cro Cop still walking Perosh down and throwing hands, most of which are missing. Perosh shoots again and Cro Cop sprawls. Cro Cop lands a few punches on the ground before letting Perosh up. Perosh is busted open on the bridge of his nose. Perosh is still moving backward as Filipovic tries to get in close. Perosh shoots, Cro Cop sprawls. Cro Cop hammers at the side of Perosh's head a few times, then lets him up at the buzzer. 10-9 Cro Cop, who has yet to really bust out his famous head kicks.
Round 2: Perosh shoots, Cro Cop sprawls, Cro Cop hammers on Perosh's head for good measure. (Lather, rinse, repeat.) As they stand, Perosh mixes it up a little with a leg kick (checked) and some fists (nothing major lands). Another takedown attempt as Cro Cop sprawls and tenderizes Perosh's ribs and face with short punches. Neither fighter looks tremendous here, but Cro Cop is getting the upper hand consistently. Perosh with a very weak inside leg kick and a love-tap jab, leading to another stuffed takedown shot. This time Cro Cop ends up in Perosh's guard. Cro Cop lands a short elbow to Perosh's face, which explodes into a bloody mess. Referee Herb Dean stops the fight to examine the cut and it's nearly stopped, until Perosh convinces Dean that he can see and is ready to keep fighting. If his vision had been impaired by the blood, it would have been over. Perosh shoots, Cro Cop sprawls and ends the round by mincing Perosh's face with more short strikes. 10-9 Cro Cop, but it doesn't matter as the Octagonside doctors stop the fight between rounds. Cro Cop wins via TKO.
I'm not sure the Cro Cop we saw tonight would have been able to handle Ben Rothwell.
Winner: Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic defeats Anthony Perosh via TKO due to cut stoppage at 5:00 of Round 2.