Cro Cop Returns: Mirko Filipović Back in the Ring this September

Daniela Rogulj

Mirko Filipović returns to the ring on September 30 at the Saitama Super Arena for the Rizin 13 spectacle. 

Martial arts legend Mirko Filipović returns to the ring next month in Japan, where he will fight in the Rizin 13 spectacle at the Saitama Super Arena. The news was confirmed on Friday at the press conference of the Japanese Martial Arts Organization, reports on August 24, 2018. 

Filipović will face American MMA fighter from Guam – Roque Martinez. The lesser-known 32-year-old fighter, who has achieved 13 wins, four defeats and four unresolved outcomes, is surprisingly the favorite in some Japanese rankings. 

Martinez has fought three times in Rizin and secured three wins. Though a bit smaller than Mirko, he is also heavier, coming in at around 120 kilograms. Interestingly, Martinez performed at the Rizin 12 evening this month, where he won a technical knockout against Kiyoshi Kuwabara – and between these two fights, he will have just over a month’s rest. 

As for Croatia’s MMA legend, Cro Cop announced his appearance at Saitama Arena just three months after a serious injury which involved an ACL tear, a partial MCL tear, a meniscofemoral ligament (MFL) tear, an LCL sprain, and a median arcuate ligament (MAL) tear. But, knowing how hard Mirko trains and his excellent physical form at the age of 43, the relatively quick return to the ring is not surprising, even though most of these injuries take around six months for recovery. 

Cro Cop was meant to fight Roy Nelson at the Bellator 200 spectacle in London at the end of May. However, he suffered the knee injury in one of his final training sessions before the fight, after which he finished on the operating table.

Mirko’s recovery has gone much faster than expected, allowing him to return to the Rizin ring, where he will also fight on the last weekend of 2018 for what may be the last hurrah of his celebrated career. 


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