Wanderlei Silva vs Mirko Cro Cop Pride 20 Armed and Ready ( First Fight )

Wanderlei Silva vs Mirko Cro Cop Pride 20 Armed and Ready
Year : 2002

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At the moment of this fight :

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva
record (win-loss-draw) :19-3-0
age : 25 years, 9 months, 3 weeks, 4 days
height : 5’11” (181cm)
reach : 74.0″ (188cm)
weight : 215 lbs (97.52 Kg)

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović
record (win-loss-draw) : 2-0-1
age : 27 years, 7 months, 2 weeks, 4 days
height : 6’2″ (188cm)
reach : 73.0″ (185cm)
weight : 222 lbs (100.70 Kg)

Bout Information

Event: Pride 20: Armed and Ready
Date: Sunday 04.28.2002
Referee: Yuji Shimada
Venue: Yokohama Arena
Enclosure: Ring
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Bout Billing: Main Event (fight 7 of 7)
TV Commentary: Stephen Quadros, Bas Rutten

Wanderlei Silva was Pride middleweight champion (205lbs – 93 kg) and already earned his “Mr. Pride” reputation by this time. Mirko Cro Cop was a big star in K-1 kickboxing and was just making the transition to MMA at this time (K-1 was huge in Japan and it is just stand up fighting). Guys who fight in K-1 take huge shots to the head almost every fight. If you can knock someone out in K-1, then you are a special striker, and Cro Cop was doing that. Cro Cop got his nickname because he was in the anti-terrorist special police forces in Croatia. He just all around seems like a killer. This was only Cro Cop’s fourth MMA fight.

The fight would be fought under normal Pride rules except for three special rules being :
1- if the fight is on the ground and goes to the ropes the fighters are restarted at stand-up;
2- it will be five 3-minute rounds instead of the normal Pride rounds;
3- if the fight goes the distance it is an automatic draw.

This was something K-1 negotiated in Cro Cop’s contract to make him feel more comfortable transitioning to MMA from K-1 (also to not make K-1 look bad). MMA was still fairly new at this time so this type of stuff still happened.

The fight took place at Pride 20 in front of a sold out crowd of 18,926.

Wanderlei Silva has a great quote during his interview before the fight: “My strategy? It’s a street fight, that’s all.”

Silva bulked up for this fight and there is about a 7 lb weight difference between the two, Cro Cop at 222 lbs and Silva at 215.

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