“TOKYO – November 12th, 2017 – RIZIN FF Chairman Sakakibara posted a 15 second promo video for their upcoming New Year’s Eve show, which hinted a matchup between 2 legendary fighters causing people to speculate what is going on. Well, it seems that it is official: PRIDE and RIZIN Grand-Prix champion Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipović (35-11-2 ) will face off in a heavyweight contest with fellow PRIDE veteran Tsuyoshi “TK” Kohsaka (29-19-2) on December 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
The Croatian hero hinted at a possible retirement after he won the inaugural RIZIN open-weight Grand Prix in 2016, finishing all of his opponents; 2015 RIZIN Grand-Prix champion King Mo, the previously undefeated 400-lb sumo champion “Baruto” Kaido Hoovelson, and the 2-time Greco-Roman wrestling world champion Amir Aliakbari (who was also undefeated at the time) were amongst Cro Cop’s tournament triumph. However, leaving the door open to a potential farewell fight has lead to a full-fledged return under the premier Japanese MMA banner.
Meanwhile, Kohsaka (aka ‘TK’), is coming off of a loss against “Baruto” Kaido Hoovelson in last year’s Grand Prix, but has an even 1-1 record in RIZIN competition, with his last win coming via technical knockout over fan-favorite and former Ultimate Combat World Heavyweight Champion, James Thompson.
Chairman Sakakibara, General Manager Takada, and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka are scheduled to appear at a press conference held on November 17th Friday to talk about the reason behind this matchup and back story on how the card was put together, with a few other announcements with confirmed bouts.
The press conference will be streamed live on RIZIN’s official Youtube account and Facebook account with English translations.
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