Skip to content

Wanderlei Silva, 'Cro Cop' to compete in Rizin FF openweight tournament


Nobody told Wanderlei Silva and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic you can't go home again.

Japanese MMA promotion Rizin FF are bringing in Silva and Filipovic for a 16-man openweight tournament scheduled for September in Tokyo, an official told ESPN's Brett Okamoto.

The two legends made names for themselves in the now-defunct PRIDE promotion with their hugely successful and violent runs throughout the 2000s.

Filipovic actually defeated Silva with a head kick KO all the way back in September 2006, and even if they're not matched up against each other initially, there's at least a chance they'll cross paths again in Rizin.

The tournament will kick off Sept. 25, and finish Dec. 29 and Dec. 31.

The 40-year-old Silva hasn't competed in an MMA bout since defeating Brian Stann at a UFC event March 3, 2013. He was released from his contract in January after a lengthy legal battle with the promotion and a lifetime ban (that was later rescinded) by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for missing a drug test.

"The Axe Murderer" participated in a tag team grappling match for Rizin in April, pairing up with Kiyoshi Tamura against Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro.

Filipovic's involvement is questionable given he recently fought for the UFC and retired in the wake of a doping violation that banned him from fighting in the United States.

Per Okamoto, UFC officials haven't responded with an update on the 41-year-old Filipovic's contract status, despite Rizin officials saying he's been granted his release.

Sixteen-year Japanese MMA veteran Kazuyuki Fujita and former sumo wrestler Baruto Kaito have also been named to the tournament, according to MMAjunkie.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox