There were some extremely low expectations for Mirko Cro Cop going into today K-1 Rising in Madrid show against Loren Javier Jorge. It isn't even that Jorge is that good of a fighter as much as it was that Cro Cop has had an extremely tough time of late and has looked less-than-mobile. His fight against Ray Sefo from a few months ago was what it was, but Mirko looked incredibly slow and plodding during that bout, not putting on much of a showing before walking away with the victory. He was still the Cro Cop that we knew and barely tolerated from the UFC that was slow, tentative and relied too much on dirty boxing and less on his kicks that made him famous.
The Mirko Cro Cop that showed up against Loren Javier Jorge tonight in Madrid was like an entirely different fighter altogether. The Cro Cop of old, that we all loved to watch and cheer on seemed to be inside of the ring tonight. He was mixing up his strikes, using better angles, throwing his kicks without fear and moving a little bit more like he used to before his UFC career. When Loren crumbled into the corner in the second round after a few deadly left hands from Cro Cop, it didn't feel like a sad display from a down-and-out fighter as much as it felt like a return to form for the former PRIDE Openweight GP Champion and former K-1 fighter.