RIZIN FF: Mirko “Cro Cop” Signs Multi-Fight Deal, to Retire NYE 2018
By Press Release
“TOKYO – On November 17th, RIZIN FF executive Chairman Nobuyuki Sakakibara, General Manager Nobuhiko Takada, and Tsuyoshi Kosaka appeared at a press conference held at the RIZIN headquarters to announce 3 matchups including the previously teased Mirko Crocop vs Tsuyoshi Kosaka, explain meaning of the fight along with the process of how this fight was put together.
General Manger Nobuhiko Takada announced the confirmed bouts, Shinju Auclair (1-0) vs Chelsea Lagrasse (Debut), Reina “KING” Miura (7-0) vs Cindy Dandois (8-3) and Mirko Crocop (35-11-2-1) vs Tsuyoshi Kosaka (27-19-2). Auclair and LaGrasse have previously met in the cage in March of 2017 in an amateur event in Ohio, where Juju, was disqualified due to an illegal head kick and the Ohioan was declared the winner. The half Japanese prospect has since won another amateur event and made her professional debut in the RIZIN ring in July. The Lancaster native fought her third amateur bout in October, winning by unanimous decision which makes her undefeated as an amateur. The 2 look to settle their unfinished business on NYE. December 29th will be Reina Miura’s 9th fight in 2017, where she has mostly been fighting opponents who are bigger and stronger. This time, she will be fighting a fighter her size for the first time in RIZIN.
Cindy Dandois, an M1, Invica and UFC veteran who has faced the top competition each division has to offer will be stepping up a weight class to face the Japanese Judoka. Battle cat, who also utilizes her Judo background in her fights, is a 2 time Belgium Champion and is known for her slick ground game and submission skills, she is set to fight Kerry Hughes on November 25th in her home Belgium, and will fly to Japan to face the KING. For Mirko Crocop and Tsuyoshi Kosaka’s fight, Chairman Sakakibara started by mentioning that Mirko had asked for a young upcoming fighter, but he chose Kosaka because he wanted to start Mirko’s road to retirement with 2 old school fighters, fighting with heart and soul.
Takada followed, “We have succeeded in introducing young and new fighters this year. We have RENA, Tenshin, Yachi and our average age of our roster is getting younger. But we need the veterans, to show their fights with wisdom and heart, and show the proper way to the young generation.” “Mirko had many offers from various countries and promoters, but he chose that he wanted to fight in front of the fans who made him who he is today, Mirko and RIZIN have agreed to a multi fight contract where Mirko will retire on NYE of 2018.”
Mirko sent a comment saying “I am happy to be returning to Japan and fight a few more times before my final retirement fight on December 31, 2018.All the injuries I sustained from past fights are finally healed and I’ll be in 100% shape for the first time in 10 years. I made a request to Mr. Sakakibara to find an opponent who is young, hungry and talented to fight for the New Year’s Eve. It turned out to be Kosaka and I was worried if the fans would feel disappointed about this match up. I respect Kosaka to have the guts to face me. He better come in 100% shape otherwise fans would be disappointed. I only have a few fights left to show Japan, the greatest fight fans in the world, who made me who I am today. Kosaka should bear that in his heart to face me when he comes in the ring on Dec. 31. See you soon! I love you.”
After listening to Mirko’s comment, Kosaka responded by saying “I am thrilled to be fighting such a fighter. He sustained the backbone of what Japanese MMA is today. I have tremendous amount of respect for him, but I will stand in front of him and fight with everything I have. I have been thinking about fighting Mirko ever since he fought my friend Fujita back in 2002, back then people were saying that no Japanese fighter will beat Mirko, when I still haven’t faced him. I clearly started thinking about facing Mirko last year, during the GP. I would have been set to face Mirko after defeating Baruto. So I have been setting up a game plan on how to face him. His left cross and left high has not worn out. It’s in his muscle memory. He is still good at everything he used to be good at. I don’t want to give up my game plan, so I won’t talk about his weaknesses. Every time I go in the ring, I am ready to die in the ring. He asked me if I would be 100% ready, I will be 100% ready and I am ready to show my Samurai spirit and show the young fighters how it’s done.”
The fight is scheduled to take place on December 31st .
Confirmed fights: [December 29th]
Ian McCall vs Manel Kape
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Gabriel Oliveira
Thalid Taha vs Takafumi Otsuka
Kevin Petshi vs Shintaro Ishiwatari
Anthoy Birchak vs Jae Hoon Moon
Jiri Prochazka vs Karl Albrektsson
Reina Miura vs Cindy Dandois
TBD vs TBD
TBD vs TBD
TBD vs TBD
RENA vs Irene Rivera
Maria Oliveira vs Kanna Asakura
TBD vs TBD
Mirko Crocop vs Tsuyoshi Kosaka
Shinju Auclair vs Chelsea LaGrasse
RIZIN FIGHTING FEDERATION WORLD GRAND-PRIX 2017
2nd round / Final round Doors open at 1:30 pm,
Opening Ceremony at 3:00 pm December 29th – 2nd round December 31st – Final round Saitama Super Arena
Tickets can be purchased at www.stubhub.com LIVE STREAMING can be purchased at http://www.rizinff.com/en/
Follow RIZIN FF: Website – http://www.rizinff.com/en/ Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rizinfightingfederation/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/rizin_PR