Cape Town - An old face is returning to Japan.
Rizin FC is about to start a busy run toward the end of the year as they have four shows between now and December. With the busy schedule comes the need for more fighters and Rizin officials have scooped up some old faces and new talent to draw in the fans the world over.
The shows will be built around a 16-man heavyweight Grand Prix tournament which starts on Sep. 25 with the quarterfinals on Dec. 29, and the semi-final and final to be held on the New Year show.
Mirko Cro Cop joins a long list of old and new talent that includes Wanderlei Silva, Kazuyuki Fujita, Kaido Hoovelson, Daron Cruickshank, Andy Souwer, Kron Gracie and Asen Yamamoto in the Rizin FC ranks. Cro Cop has a first round bye and will compete at the Dec. 29 show against an opponent to be named. Cro Cop became a legend while fighting under the Pride FC banner between 2001 and 2006 where he racked up a 19-4-2 record beating some of the sports legendary names like Wanderlei Silva, Josh Barnett, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kevin Randleman and Mark Coleman, so his return to Japan will be a huge deal for both the promotion and the fans.
Mirko (31-11-2) retired from MMA last November after he said an injured shoulder prevented him from training. His last outing was a successful return to the UFC where he brutally dispatched Gabriel Gonzaga in the third round of their rematch in Kràkow, Poland.
Sport24 will have more details on the tournament brackets and fights as and when they are announced.