Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Fourteen months after he said he'd fought in mixed martial arts for the last time, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic stepped back into the sport on New Year's Eve in Japan, and gave his fans a more positive memory to remember him by.
Facing Shinichi Suzukawa in the IGF Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 show, Cro Cop needed just 78 seconds to author a submission victory.
The fight began with an early eye poke from Suzukawa, but once the action resumed, Cro Cop moved aggressively forward with strikes and tripped his opponent to the ground, where he quickly moved to full mount before easing into a fight-finishing arm bar.
Afterward, Cro Cop gave no indication of whether or not he would fight again, though he has been linked to a bout with Pedro Rizzo in February.
It was a typical matchup for a Japanese New Year's Eve event, with the decorated veteran facing an opponent making his MMA debut. Suzukawa was formerly a sumo wrestler who left that sport in 2009 and has since performed as a professional wrestler.
Cro Cop had last fought at UFC 137 in October 2011, when he suffered his third straight knockout loss in the octagon, this time at the hands of Roy Nelson. Once one of the world's top heavyweights, Cro Cop could muster only a 4-6 record during his time in the UFC.
Cro Cop has since fought in kickboxing three times, going a perfect 3-0.
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