Earlier today, MMA Junkie reported that a couple UFC 102 prelim match-ups were being shuffled around. Instead of Todd Duffee, Mike Russow was all of a sudden fighting Justin McCully, whose original opponent, Junior dos Santos, was now mysteriously off the card.
Weird, huh? At first, yes, but it’s the prelims so who cares, right? Well, think again. Because according to dos Santos, the UFC pulled him off the card to put him in the UFC 103 main event against none other than Mirko ‘Cro Cop’. From Portal das Lutas via Gracie Mag:
“I think I’ll fight September 19. They took me off the August 29 show,” he said, also announcing he will no longer be facing the same opponent. “My opponent’s changed. I’ll probably face Cro Cop. If I beat him I’ll be in really good standing. If that’s truly the case, I’m guaranteed on the main card and in the main event of the evening. If I were to fight now it wouldn’t be on the main card,” he said to Portal das Lutas, GRACIEMAG.com partner site.
“To me it’s incredible. When they asked me if they could change the fight date I was a bit bothered, because I wanted to fight right away. I’ve been away for some time now. But the Fertitta brothers asked me and I accepted. After that I found out it would be against Cro Cop and was overjoyed. It’ll be a big opportunity in my career. Lots of good things have happened in my life and this is one more. I’m going to make the most of it,” he finished.
Obviously, if this is true, which it looks like it is, talks between Lorenzo and Cro Cop must have progressed quite nicely.
Not to get ahead of myself here, but Dos Santos is pretty solid match-up for Cro Cop I’d say. He’s a young up-and-comer who possesses the tools to end the fight at any moment. Whether or not he can do that against Cro Cop, who is a much more experienced and seasoned striker, is the question, but it will likely depend on which Mirko shows up. The good news for the Croatian is dos Santos isn’t one of the UFC’s giant heavyweights, so he won’t have to worry about being bullied around the cage. As long as Cro Cop maintains distance and keeps his hands up, I’m thinking it’s his fight to lose.
By the way, if this fight does in fact headline UFC 103, I seriously hope they find Rich Franklin a good opponent or there’s a co-main event we haven’t heard about yet. Swick vs Kampmann, Koscheck vs Trigg and Griffin vs Franca are nice, but these four fights alone make for a pretty weak card.
Update: MMA Junkie is confirming that Junior dos Santos will fight Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ at UFC 103. They couldn’t confirm whether it is the night’s main event however.