When Satoshi Ishii and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic first met earlier this year, the bout was waived off in the second round after an elbow from the Croatian caused a serious cut to the Japanese Judoka, but the two heavyweights will go head to head for a second time at IGF Inoki Bom Ba Ye on New Year’s Eve.
The loss snapped an eight-fight winning streak for Ishii (12-3-1) and also saw Cro Cop (29-11-2-1) claim the IGF heavyweight title, but the former champion will have an opportunity to reclaim the belt in a fight that will headline Antoni Inoki’s annual event at the Ryougoku Sumo Hall.
The immediate rematch was initially in doubt due to Ishii suffering a rib injury that forced him out of a planned M-1 bout, but the 2008 Olympic Gold Medal Judoka will apparently be healed in time to fight Cro Cop again.
At present, two more fights are confirmed for the card with Chris Barnett (11-1) taking on Shinichi Suzukawa (1-2) in a super heavyweight fight, which will see the former Sumo wrestler look to build on his recent TKO win over veteran Ikuhisa Minowa.
The other confirmed bout sees Japanese heavyweight Yusuke Kawaguchi (16-8) return to IGF action to take on Justin Willis (1-1), who will be at a disadvantage in terms of competitive experience, but trains alongside some of the best heavyweights in the world at AKA.
The card is also set to feature Josh Barnett (in a pro wrestling match) and Ramazan Esenbaev, while Fedor Emelianenko and Wanderlei Silva will both be in attendance as guests of Inoki on what promises to be a star-studded occasion.
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