Mirko Cro Cop Against Bob Sapp K-1 World Grand Prix 2003
Before Mirko Cro Cop became a household name to UFC fans. He had a long and successful career both in K-1 kickboxing and MMA with Pride Fighting Championships. Competing at the highest levels for the majority of his career. Mirko established himself as one of the most devastating strikers in the sport.
Routinely knocking out his opponents via crushing kicks, he soon became a fan favourite. Taking on some of the biggest names in combat sports, literally and figuratively. And that is where his massive fight against The Beast Bob Sapp. Would forever be remembered as one that shocked both the kickboxing world and the big man himself.
As people have to remember that the Bob Sapp of 2002 is worlds apart from the compromised fighter we see today. Back then 330 lb lump of muscle behemoth that had just smashed one of the greatest kickboxers in the world Ernesto Hoost twice. Had brought Pride Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to the wire in their classic war.
And numerous pundits were touting him as potentially the biggest threat in the heavyweight division. A freak of nature, Sapp’s sheer size was a test for anyone. But adding to that was his ever-evolving skillset which made him a clear a present danger for all. And in his fight against Cro Cop, many expected him to simply smash the Croatian in the same way he had done to Hoost.
With standard Pride FC fanfare both men entered the arena, Japanese fans clamoured to touch them both. As it became clear that there was something special in the air as the pair made their way to the ring.
With a three-inch height advantage and outweighing Mirko by some 100 lbs. Some thought he would simply swarm and overpower the kickboxing icon. With the end result being another win for the fast-rising star.
Cro Cop vs Sapp Round One
But it was only when both I stood side by side that we could see the true size disparity. While Crop Cop is himself a big man, he was dwarfed by the hulking frame of Sapp. As the now-former NFL player turned combat sports fighter looked to once again impose his will on yet another opponent.
And once the round got underway, it was clear to see how Sapp intended to win the fight. By charging down the Croatian and swinging his wild and heavy hands until achieving his goal. But Mirko tried to land his shots and circle away but was quickly shut down by Sapp’s unnatural size.
With Cro Cop landing a few decent strikes, the pair would clinch up, with the referee being forced to separate. Where on the break, Mirko landed some good kicks to the body that was making Sapp think twice about his next move.
Then at two minutes in, Bob landed an unintended shot to the groin which temporarily brought a halt to the action. As Mirko recovered in his corner, Sapp waited on the opposite side of the ring for the fight to resume.
And when things got underway again, Sapp missed with a looping right hand. That resulted in an audible gasp from the crowd who were now on the edge of their seats. With Bob once again now pushing forward as he looked to land that one big shot.
But Crop Cop with the poise and timing of a veteran was waiting. And as Bob once again plodded forward, landed a stinging left kick to the body. Followed by a left hand that put Sapp down and out for the count. As it was Mirko Crop Cop and not The Beast who would have his hand raised on this memorable night in K-1 history.