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

Gabriel Gonzaga The main event of UFC Fight Night 64 is a five-round heavyweight bout between Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Cro Cop. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Gonzaga is a -170 favorite (bet $170 to win $100) while Cro Cop is a +150 underdog (bet $100 to win $150). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Gonzaga at -155 and Cro Cop at +115, and Gonzaga has been slightly bet up as the favorite. I agree with Gonzaga being the odds-on favorite here as I expect him to win this fight. Here’s why. Gonzaga (16-9) is one of the longest-tenured heavyweight fighters on the UFC roster. The 35-year-old Brazilian is 11-8 in the UFC with wins over the likes of Cro Cop, Shawn Jordan, and Ben Rothwell, with his losses all coming against top-15 talent like Stipe Miocic, Travis Browne, and Matt Mitrione. Gonzaga is a BJJ black belt and he has some of the best submissions in the UFC and has eight tapout wins overall. He is also incredibly powerful on the feet and has eight knockout wins to his credit. His problems are his speed, as he’s quite slow for a heavyweight, and also his chin, as he’s been knocked out seven times in his career. He is a finisher, though, and not an easy guy to beat. He is coming into this fight against Cro Cop on a two-fight losing streak, and he desperately needs a win here, but it’s a winnable fight against a guy with a suspect chin who he has been before and that’s why he is the favorite. Cro Cop (30-11-2, 1 NC) is making his return to the UFC for a third stint in the promotion overall. The 40-year-old Croatian is 4-6 in the UFC overall with wins over the likes of Pat Barry and Anthony Perosh. He also has wins over the likes of Josh Barnett (x3), Wanderlei Silva, Mark Coleman and Kazushi Sakuraba during his illustrious career in MMA. A kickboxer by trade, Cro Cop is known for his dangerous high kicks and has won 22 fights via T/KO during his career. He is incredibly dangerous on the feet and has won his last two fights by knockout. He is not known for his grappling, but later in his career he started to improve his submissions and overall has five victories by tapout. Like Gonzaga, though, Cro Cop’s problem is his chin. He has been knocked out five times in his career, including three-straight KO losses that ended his last run in the UFC. He has also been submitted three times. No doubt Cro Cop is an offensive talent, but defensively he is very flawed and while he always has that kicker’s chance, there are too many things going against him to be confident in him against a top-15 heavyweight like Gonzaga, and that’s why he’s the underdog in this fight despite coming into this bout riding a two-fight winning streak. There is no way this fight is going five rounds. No way. Both men possess finishing ability on the feet and on the mat and with boys guys having suspect chins, I’d be shocked if this went 25 minutes. That being said, I favor Gonzaga to win this fight in devastating fashion. First off, he won the pair’s initial encounter back at UFC 70, and if anything, he’s the fighter who has improved more in the eight years since. Cro Cop was cut from the UFC the last time because he simply can’t hang with top-15 heavyweights anymore. And while Gonzaga isn’t great, he is a top-15 fighter as far as I’m concerned. He has a ton of power and if this fight hits the mat he will have a huge advantage. Cro Cop’s only chance to win is to catch Gonzaga on the feet, and while I can’t completely rule that out because this is a heavyweight bout and anything can happen, I think more times than not Gonzaga catches Cro Cop and finishes him. I’m leaning towards a knockout, but a submission is possible. I don’t typically bet on heavyweight fights because the “puncher’s chance” factor is higher, but in this case I have to lean heavyweight towards Gonzaga. I just feel like he has more ways to win this fight and at -170, I think there is value on him for a bet. I feel like Gonzaga should be around -250 in this spot, and believe the line is lower because there is always hype behind Cro Cop, and I have to take advantage of it.

Written by Adam Martin.

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