Originally Posted by Stoo
Cro Cop v Josh 2006 OWGP final
A brief shot of both men back stage and with Barnet huddled with his cornermen praying and Mirko on his own menacingly pacing in anticipation, the stage is set for the final of this Grand Prix with the third match between these two veterans with contrasting styles.
After the formalities of the ring walks over, the stare down(well Barnet in typical good humour tells Mirko he has something in his eye, Mirko smiles and wipes it away and they both shake hand) complete the bell rings for the start of the fight. Will Josh avenge his two losses, or will Mirko finally get an MMA title he desperately crave after years of toils and disappointment
A cautious start, Josh's face already showing damage form his previous encounter with Nog, tries to press forward jabbing and clinching, but Mirko shrugs his off and circles out. In the centre of the ring and both men are static in anticipation for a few seconds...then Mirko fires a hard lead kick to Barnets love handles and as he steps in to follow up with that straight left that was Wanderles nemesis an hour earlier in the night Josh instinctively tries to get the underhooks in. But barring a solid knee from JB, a CC uppercut to the face and a knee to the jaw quickly puts an end to that stanza.
Josh is clearly trying to take the fight to Mirko hoping to break his spirit and presses forward with a leg kick and jab, but again he eats another lead kick to the body which quickly makes him see the errors of his ways in trying to strike with Mirko and he shoots for the single leg. With his head to Mirkos ribs and both hand wrapped around that tree trunk that passes as Mirko's thigh, Joshs neck is wide open for a guillotine choke and Mirko obliges. Something is wrong here with the script as it's Josh who's the aggressor with the strikes and Mirko is countering with the submissions, but normal service is resumed when Barnet frees his head. But the series of uppercuts to Joshs face from the clinch must be making Josh wish he'd been choked out instead as Barnet covers up in the corner and Mirko swings away two or three more times like a man swinging an axe at an oak tree
Mirko in full kill mode now, forgets the basics of stand up, that is you have to be standing up for it to be effect. This momentary loss of balance is all the incentive Josh needs to seize his opportunity to get the **** out of dodge, and his fires a hard knee to Cro Cops face. Finally out of the corner Barnet tries to follow up with more knees, with his hands clasped tightly around Mirko's neck, 1 knees is followed by a second, but then Mirko remembers he's the stand up technician and before Josh can put his foot back on the mat he gets pushed to the ground with only a REALLY fired up Mirko standing over him looking to **** **** up, that **** being Barnets conciousness.
Now after the feeling out period of the opening two minutes is over both men take a breather as the Ref stops the fight due to a cut above Mirko's right eye. It's not bleeding badly, it kinda of looks like a stained on a used ladies sanitary product and the Ref resets them in the middle of the ring with Mirko in Joshs guard
Now this is where Josh has the advantage and he hits Mirko with a few punches to the face and eats a retaliatory punch to the ribs. Josh is trying to work his hips to the right angle for a triangle choke, Mirko fires on or two punches whilst avoiding the subs, keeping constantly scooting his hips forward to avoid Josh from creating the space to move his legs higher up his body into the choke position. Josh uses his experience and controls Mirko's hands to stop the gnp throughout this positioning exchange and you sense that it will be one mistake or lapse in concentration to break this short and intriguing stalemate
Josh goes for broke and tries another triangle attempt and sacrifices his tight guard in the process, now Mirko has the upper hand. Mirko wisely stands up and the Ref beckons Josh off his back and back into the danger zone as CroCop takes a deep breath then shoots a mean stare towards Barnets direction.
Josh fires a HARD low kick, followed by an fatigued attempt at a body kick which reminds the audience that Josh isnt the greatest striker in the world as he nearly loses balance. Both men breathing heavily now, but Mirko fires four or five unanswered left hands, leaving a trickle of blood stemming for Joshs nose.
A hard body kick for CC, followed by a punishing left straight leave JB clearly hurt and backing up, and Mirko doesnt need an invitation to move in for more. Josh circles and land another low kick of his own and he wisely shoots in for the clinch. Looking to drain Mirkos stamina, he fires a knee to the body, but Mirko doesnt want to play this game. he works that deadly left hand free and swings an uppercut to Barnets face and Barnet falls back to the mat. Mirko fires some hammerfists now to a static Barnet with a rapid succession of an AK47 with a full magazine and Josh some how rolls away and gets Mirko into his guard. A great display of heart and composure there but the writing is on the wall.
Mirko now is swinging all types of punches towards Barnets head with berserker precision, which allows JB to gain wrist control, and the crowd chant ''Barnet'' in support and appreciation at Joshs display of courage. Both men look exhausted form the effort, but Mirko postures up on his knees and takes a deep breath, refocus' seemingly with all those calls that he's a nearly man and mentally weak ringing in his ears louder than the chants from the crowd for his adversary and the onslaught continues.
And with one last effort Mirko stands to his feet, swings a vicious left on too Barnets already swollen eye and his reward is probably the second greatest sound of his MMA career, Josh tapping the mat, swiftly followed by the greatest, the sound of the bell and the roar of the crowd.
Cro Cop, for such a stoic man, weeps tears of joy as the ring announcer declares the he's the 2006 PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix CHAMPION.