Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic returned to mixed martial arts competition last night, finishing Japanese sumo wrestler Shinichi Suzukawa in the first round by armbar at IGF Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012.
The New Year’s Eve fight was Cro Cop’s first bout since announcing his retirement from MMA after losing his third consecutive fight in the UFC, and his first win since June 2010.
The fight began with Suzukawa attempting a flying knee while Cro Cop threw a left cross. However, an inadvertent eye poke by the sumo wrestler brought a halt to the action.
After a short break to let Cro Cop recover from the poke, the fight resumed and the Croation kickboxer went on the offensive, throwing numerous punch combinations. Suzukawa reeled back to avoid his opponent’s offense, but eventually covered up and absorbed Filipovic’s stirkes.
Thereafter, Cro Cop clinched his opponent and as the Japanese fighter went tumbling to the floor. Cro Cop followed him to the ground, fully mounting him a short while later.
After finding little luck with strikes from mount, Cro Cop transitioned to an armbar, leaving Suzukawa no option but to tap out.
Cro Cop’s three previous fights were in the UFC, all of which he lost by either knockout and technical knockout. The last loss, a TKO to Roy Nelson at UFC 137 in October 2011, prompted Filipovic to announce his retirement from fighting.
In his return, the kickboxer gained his fifth submission win of his career. His previous tap out victory was also his last win, which came over Pat Barry at UFC 115 by rear-naked choke.
Cro Cop typically takes a microphone and addresses the crowd following his wins, but did no such thing after defeating Suzukawa. No mention was made about the fighter returning for another MMA fight.
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