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UFC 128 KO of Night: Schaub takes next step by stopping ‘Cro Cop’

Steve Cofield
Cagewriter

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Brendan Schaub is still a work in progress, but he's got something every fighter would love to possess -- one-punch knockout power.

After a rough, grinder of a fight, waged mostly along the cage, Schaub drilled Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic with a counter right hand. Cro Cop crumbled to the floor and Schaub landed one more finishing punch that bounced the Croatian's head off the floor like a basketball. Referee Herb Dean sprinted across the cage to stop the fight at the 3:44 mark of the third round.

Update: During Saturday night's postfight press conference, UFC president Dana White said this was probably the last time the 36-year-old Cro Cop would be fighting for the promotion. He's lost two straight fights and lacks the explosiveness and size to compete at the highest level with the new breed heavyweight. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Schaub, has only been a pro since  the middle of 2008.

It wasn't easy for Schaub, who was wary of Cro Cop's devasting left head kick throughout. The former Colorado fullback tried to keep the fight at close quarters. In most of the cases when Cro Cop tried a kick or moved forward with a punch, Schaub (8-1, 4-1 UFC) looked for the clinch or a takedown.

The wily veteran Cro Cop (27-9, 4-5 UFC) did some fine work of his own in those clinch situations along the cage. He landed some nasty short elbows including one in the second that caused Schaub's nose to start leaking blood. He also opened up a cut over Schaub's left eye.

The younger Schaub took the first two rounds, but in the second he had a point taken away for punches to the back of the head.

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Schaub, the runner-up on Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter," lost in the final to another vet in Roy Nelson. Since then, he's scored three knockout finishes in four victories.

Schaub, who turned 28 Friday, asked Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta for the Knockout of the Night bonus. Through eight fights, his only competition is Erik Koch, who scored a first-round KO of Raphael Assuncao.

Update II: The UFC gave out two KO of the Night bonuses. Schaub and Koch each got $70,000.

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