For the past year, legendary heavyweight striker Mirko Filipovic had been taking to the ring as a kickboxer as a means of continuing his love of combat sports without crossing back over into the MMA realm where he came up short in his last three tilts. However, “Cro Cop” changed things up for a Japanese crowd in honor of New Year’s Eve, returning to the sport he dominated as a member of the famed PRIDE promotion.
Filipovic’s fight came at IGF Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 against the massively overmatched sumo wrestler Shinichi Suzukawa who happened to be making his professional debut in the pairing. The 38-year old only needed 78 seconds to put his adversary away, taking him down early, advancing into mount, and ultimately securing an Armbar to force the tap.
Former UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia also saw action at the event but wasn’t able to find the same success as his Croatian counterpart. Sylvia drew gold medalist judoka Satoshi Ishii and suffered a decision loss after failing to fend off the Olympian’s relentless grappling attack. The stumble dropped Sylvia’s record to 3-2 in his last five fights and essentially ended any hope he might have had of eventually re-joining the UFC roster.
PHOTO CREDIT – PRIDE/UFC