It appears that the MMA retirement of Mirko Filipovic might not have stuck.
“Cro Cop” (28-10-2) reportedly will continue his return to MMA to face Aleksander Emelianenko (22-6) in November in Russia. That news comes from Russian outlet ValeTudo.ru.
The two heavyweights, according to the report, are set to rematch for Russia’s Legend Fighting Show. Emelianenko just this past month competed for that promotion, stopping Bob Sapp 78 seconds into the fight in Moscow.
Filipovic and Emelianenko first met in August 2004 at “PRIDE: Final Conflict 2004.” Filipovic won that fight with a first-round knockout stemming from one of his already legendary head kicks. The loss was the first of Emelianenko’s career. Now, more than nine years later, he’ll have a shot at avenging that loss.
Filipovic retired from MMA after a rough end to his second stint in the UFC. After PRIDE was dissolved, “Cro Cop” came to the UFC in 2007 and won with a first-round knockout. But then he was stopped with a head kick by Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70, a knockout that has become one of the most replayed in MMA history. He followed that up with a decision loss to Cheick Kongo and departed the organization with a 1-2 record.
But he returned in 2009 and started out 3-1 with stoppages of Mostapha Al-turk, Anthony Perosh and Pat Barry and just a loss to Junior dos Santos in the middle. But at UFC 119, he was knocked out by Frank Mir, then knocked out by Brendan Schaub at UFC 128, and at UFC 137, Roy Nelson stopped him – all in the third round.
“Cro Cop” did return to MMA this past December and got a first-round armbar win over Shinichi Suzukawa at IGF’s Inok Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 event in Tokyo. And he’s also reported to be facing Satoshi Ishii this December – so he may not be retired from MMA to focus solely on kickboxing (he’s 6-0 in his original sport since leaving the UFC, including K-1's World Grand Prix title) after all.
Emelianenko, brother of legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, has won five of his past six bouts. Before his May win over Sapp, Jeff Monson submitted him at M-1 Challenge 35 in Russia. But before that, he had a four-fight win streak with three stoppages.
Since PRIDE’s end, Emelianenko has mostly fought in his home country. But in his days fighting in Japan, he fought the likes of Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett (both submission losses). Like his brother, he’s a combat sambo expert. Of his 22 career MMA wins, 19 have come by stoppage. And of his six losses, all have been stoppages.
(Pictured: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic)