Last week RIZIN FF chairman Sakakibara posted a short video hinting that two legendary PRIDE fighters would return for its upcoming New Year’s Eve show. The promotion has today made it official.
PRIDE and RIZIN Grand Prix champion Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic (35-11-2) will return to Japan to face fellow PRIDE veteran Tsuyoshi “TK” Kohsaka (29-19-2) in a heavyweight contest on 31 December at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
The Croatian hero hinted at a possible retirement after finishing all of his opponents to win the inaugural RIZIN open-weight Grand Prix in 2016. However, leaving the door open to a potential farewell fight has lead to a full-fledged return under the Japanese MMA banner RIZIN.
Kohsaka is coming off of a loss against Kaido Hoovelson in last year’s Grand Prix, but has an even 1-1 record in RIZIN competition, with his last win coming via TKO over fan-favorite and former Ultimate Combat World heavyweight champion, James Thompson.
More details about the December card will be released this Friday, along with the rest of the card. Confirmed fights for the 29 December now include:
Bantamweight GP Quarterfinals
· Ian McCall vs. Manel Kape
· Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Gabriel Oliveira
· Thalid Taha vs. Takafumi Otsuka
· Kevin Petshi vs. Shintaro Ishiwatari
Bantamweight GP reserve bout
· Anthoy Birchak vs. Jae Hoon Moon
Women’s Super-Atom Weight GP Semi Finals
· RENA vs. Irene Rivera
· Maria Oliveira vs. Kanna Asakura
· Mirko Crocop vs. Tsuyoshi Kosaka
· Jiri Prochazka vs. Karl Albrektsson