UFC Fight Night 64 Opening Odds Breakdown: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko Cro Cop 2

UFC_Poland UFC Fight Night 64: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2 Date: April 11, 2015 Location: Krakow, Poland Venue: Krakow Arena Broadcast: Fight Pass UFC Heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga Known mostly for his “Knockout of the Decade” over Mirko Cro Cop in 2007, Gabriel Gonzaga (16-9) has been an on-and-off force in the heavyweight division for a number of years. After losing three out of four fights from 2009 through 2010 in the UFC, Gonzaga called it quits on his MMA career for a while, then reignited his fire to compete and was welcomed back into the organization in 2012. The 35-year-old Brazilian submitted Ednaldo Oliveira at UFC 142 via rear-naked choke in his return and followed that up by submitting Ben Rothwell by guillotine choke a year later. Gonzaga was riding a huge wave of confidence at 2-0 in his return to the UFC, but his path of destruction would hit a speedbump in the form of current title contender Travis Browne, who would knock out Gonzaga in the same fashion he knocked out Josh Barnett, with elbows to the side of the head in rapid fashion while his opponent attempted a takedown against the cage. Gonzaga would bounce back in hugely impressive fashion, however, knocking out Dave Herman in 17 seconds at UFC 162 and then knocking out Shawn Jordan at UFC 166 in 93 seconds as ‘Napao’ finished 2013 strong. However, 2014 wasn’t kind to the former title contender as he first lost a decision to Stipe Miocic and then was knocked out by Matt Mitrione. Still, with his ability to submit opponents on the ground and knock them out on the feet, Gonzaga is a scary out for anyone at heavyweight. His next challenge comes in the form of Cro Cop in a rematch, and he’ll be looking to prove at UFC Fight Night 64 that that head kick knockout all those years ago was not a fluke. UFC Heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop One of the sport’s all-time most popular fighters, Mirko Cop Cop (30-11-2, 1 NC) returns to the UFC for his third stint in the organization following a 3-1 stint on the regional circuit. The 40-year-old native of Croatia is known for his devastating high kicks and all in all has 22 knockout wins to his name. He has won his last two fights by head kick KO and some are saying he’s “back,” although that remains to be seen. A powerful kickboxer, Cro Cop is only 4-6 in the UFC and many were surprised he got the call for a third shot in the Octagon. However, he’s still very popular, even in his later years, and so it’s not a surprise he’s getting another chance at the highest level of the sport. He takes on Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC Fight Night 64 in a rematch of the pair’s fight bout back at UFC 70 where Gonzaga scored a huge upset win, knocking Cro Cop out with a high kick, and Cro Cop will no doubt be looking for revenge when these two square off in their second fight. Opening Fight Night 64 Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Gonzaga a -155 favorite (bet $155 to win $100) while Cro Cop opened as a +115 underdog (bet $100 to win $115) at Several Bookmakers. This is a rematch of the pair’s first bout all the way back at UFC 70 that Gonzaga won via head kick KO, still one of the best knockouts in the history of the sport. It was an upset at the time, but over the years Gonzaga has proven himself to be one of the top 15 heavyweights in the UFC while Cro Cop was cut from the UFC roster in 2011 and is finally returning after going 3-1 overseas. Both fighters are talented, but both have been extremely inconsistent over the years, Cro Cop more so. Cro Cop is an exciting fighter, but his chin is not good and he’s 40 years of age now. As for Gonzaga, he doesn’t have a good chin either but he does have underrated striking and he has the better ground game in this matchup. Cro Cop is a popular fighter and since Gonzaga rarely gets respect, so that’s why you see the opening line as tight as it is despite what happened when these two big men first men many moons ago.

Written by Adam Martin.

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