Mirko Filipovic. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Update 10:34 PM ET: Both AOL FanHouse and Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer are reporting that they have received independent confirmation from UFC President Dana White that Filipovic has re-signed with the organization and will indeed be fighting Al-Turk at the event.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic says he’s back in the UFC.
The former K-1 kickboxer and PRIDE Fighting Championships heavyweight standout stated that he will be facing Cage Rage product Mustapha Al-Turk in his return match in a post on his official blog and a subsequent press release sent out by his official website revealed that the bout will take place at UFC 99 on June 13 in Cologne, Germany.
“I decided to fight in the UFC again because of the stronger competition in the heavyweight division,” Filipovic said. “My next opponent will be Mustapha Al-Turk. I didn’t do well in my first three appearances. I wasn’t myself. By returning to the cage, I want to prove that I can still fight at highest level, no matter when or where.“
However, the UFC has yet to confirm the news and Al-Turk is currently still slated to take on American Top Team member Todd Duffee in one of seven preliminary bouts scheduled for the event.
After over five years of fighting almost exclusively in Japan, Filipovic came overseas to the UFC, only to produce a disappointing 1-2 record inside the promotion. The Croatian scored a first-round TKO of Eddie Sanchez in his UFC debut, but then went on to be brutally knocked out by Gabriel Gonzaga and drop a lackluster decision to Cheick Kongo in consecutive bouts.
Filipovic was granted his release from the UFC and the two sides split on amicable terms. He has since been competing in Japan-based DREAM, where he earned impressive stoppages of Tatsuya Mizuno and Hong-Man Choi, but was dominated during a anticipated grudge match against Alistair Overeem last September until a groin injury suffered by Filipovic resulted in a no-contest.
He was previously rumored to have been considered as an opponent for former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture at UFC 99, but Couture was forced to withdraw from the show due to movie commitments.
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