Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has had a quietly busy year in 2014, competing twice in kickboxing matches for the GLORY promotion and once in MMA for Antonio Inoki’s Inoki Genome event.
Today it was announced that the 18-year veteran of the fight game(s) will return to MMA on New Year’s Eve in Japan, to defend the Inoki Genome Heavyweight Championship he won back in August against Satoshi Ishii. An opponent has not been announced, but rumors point to a rematch with Ishii.
The news was first reported at Sherdog.com.
The New Year’s Eve event is entitled Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014, and is said to feature a mix of MMA bouts and pro wrestling matches. Among the pro wrestling talent will be Josh Barnett (seen above), who is best known stateside for his days in the UFC but a longtime presence at pro wrestling shows in Japan.
New Year’s Eve events were a staple of Japanese MMA during its early to mid 2000’s heyday. Cro Cop earned victories at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2001 and 2002, against Yuji Nagata and Kazuyuki Fujita, respectively. He later fought for PRIDE’s New Year’s Eve shows, defeating Kevin Randleman in 2004, but losing a decision to Mark Hunt in 2005.
A full card for Inoki Bom Ba Ye 2014 is said to be announced on December 1. The only other name listed to be fighting on the show is Russian lightweight prospect Ramazan Esenbaev.
The 40 year old Cro Cop has a 29-11-2 record in MMA, and a 23-8 record in kickboxing.