Heavyweight Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, who looked unimpressive in a three-fight UFC sting in 2007 that saw him go just 1-2, will return to the Octagon in June at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany against Mustapha al-Turk.
From Cro Cop’s official blog:
“I decided to fight in the UFC again, because of the stronger competition in the heavyweight division. 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. It’s hard to talk about concrete plans, but I would really like to fight at least three times this year. I wish to fight against quality opponents and to fight my way up to a title shot but for now, I’ll focus only on my next fight and after that we’ll see what’s going to be on the menu next. I want to say thank you Mr. Dana White for your interest and for an invitation back to the UFC. I owe you a lot from our first deal, and I’ll make it up to you.”
Since leaving the UFC following back-to-back losses to Gabriel Gonzaga and Cheick Kongo, Filipovic has won two-straight bouts, defeating Tatsuya Mizuno and Hong Man Choi at DREAM 1 and Dynamite!! 2008 respectively, while also fighting Alistair Overeem to a no contest after getting hit with several illegal groin strikes.
Al-Turk (6-4), a Cage Rage veteran who had been scheduled to battle Todd Duffee at UFC 99, suffered a first-round TKO loss to Cheick Kongo at UFC 92 in December in his UFC debut.
The reason for Duffee’s withdrawal from the card has not yet been revealed.
[Pictured: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic]