“Cro Cop” will finish his 2014 wearing MMA gloves. | Photo: TJ De Santis/Sherdog.com
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will defend his newly won Inoki Genome Federation title on Dec. 31 as part of the company’s annual New Year’s Eve show, “Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014.”
IGF officials announced Filipovic’s participation on Tuesday, though a challenger for the belt has yet to be named. The event, which takes place at Ryogoku Kokugikan sumo hall in Tokyo, is also expected to feature Russian prospect Ramazan Esenbaev in MMA action and UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett in a pro-wrestling match.
Filipovic claimed the IGF championship -- a pro-wrestling belt turned MMA title -- in August, when the Croatian veteran sliced open Satoshi Ishii with an elbow strike to force a second-round doctor stoppage. IGF officials Tuesday noted that a New Year’s Eve rematch was a possibility before Ishii suffered a rib injury last month, one which forced his withdrawal from M-1 Challenge 53 in Beijing.
IGF is expected to announce its complete New Year’s Eve card on Dec. 1, when the company stages “Road to Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014 Fan Fest” at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.