by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will make his promotional debut at the new Dream event on March 15 after all. Filipovic reportedly made the announcement himself Thursday morning on his personal blog on mmm-id.com, a site self-described as “a virtual community for mixed martial arts fans and fighters.”
“A little over an hour ago I was contacted by Dream officials,” wrote Filipovic. “They informed me that my opponent on March 15 will be Yoshihiro Nakao from Japan. It was very important for me to fight as soon as possible and I’m happy that Dream was able to find the opponent for me.”
Following his release from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and subsequent signing by Dream, the new Japanese promotion comprised of Fight Entertainment Group and former staff members of Dream Stage Entertainment, Filipovic has been waiting to see if the promotion would be able to find an opponent for him on such short notice.
One of the leading candidates originally, Bob Sapp, was literally knocked out of contention when Jan Nortje finished him by TKO at the Feb. 23 Strikeforce event in Tacoma, Wash.
Filipovic makes his return to Japan and fighting in a more traditional ring following back-to-back losses in the UFC’s Octagon to Gabriel Gonzaga and Cheick Kongo.
“I’m happy to be back in Japan,” said Filipovic at a press conference last month announcing Dream and his participation in the promotion. “I didn’t like the cage very much, and now I’m looking forward to fighting here again. I feel that Japan is like my second home, this is where I want to fight.”
Nakao maintains a 6-1 professional record, last fighting at Pride Fighting Championships’ final event in April of last year.