After struggling against Alistair Overeem (28-11) at the Sept. 26 DREAM 6 event — only to be saved by a no-contest after being struck with a fight-ending knee to the groin — former PRIDE and UFC fighter Mirko “Cro Cop” (23-6-2) says the rematch is set for Dec. 31 in Japan.
Filipovic confirmed the rumored K-1 DYNAMITE!! 2008 bout with Croatian site dnevnik.hr.
Filipovic also confirmed that he’ll enter the fight with a knee injury and will undergo surgery soon after the event, which is scheduled to feature five MMA bouts and five K1 kickboxing matches.
The event takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
In their first meeting in September, Overeem connected with early knees from the clinch and easy takedowns. He then tagged Filipovic and caused a cut near his left eye, but it was checked and hw was cleared to continue.
In subsequent exchanges, though, Filipovic was caught with two knees to the groin. Overeem was issued a warning, and after the second, Overeem was issued his second yellow card of the fight.
During a lengthy recovery time, Filipovic’s corner alerted Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten, who were calling the action for HDNet, that Filipovic’s right testicle had been knocked up and inside his body. For a full 10 minutes, the fighter lay on the mat while grimacing in obviously agonizing pain. Eventually, the pain was too much, and the fight was ruled a no-contest.
“I’m sorry this great fight had to end this way,” Overeem said after the fight. “It was a mistake to make early in the fight. I wanted to finish the fight with Cro Cop with a KO or submission in a fair way.”
Since signing with the UFC in late 2006 and debuting with a first-round TKO of Eddie Sanchez in February 2007, Filipovic is 1-2 (with one no-contest), which included a knockout loss to Gabriel Gonzaga and a unanimous-decision defeat to Cheick Kongo. His lone victory was over little-known Tatsuya Mizuno (4-4) at DREAM 1 after Filipovic left the UFC.
Overeem, meanwhile, has rebounded from a three-fight losing streak in early 2007 with a 4-1 record (with one no-contest) in his past six fights. In November 2007, he defeated Paul Buentello with a second-round submission via strikes to win the first-ever Strikeforce world heavyweight championship.