“Cro Cop” Filipovic wins Rizin Open weight grand prix

Fourty-two year old Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic turned back time as he won the 2016 Rizin open weight tournament in Japan tonight.

The Croatian heavyweight made quick work of Baruto Kaito before stopping former world champion wrestler Amir Aliakbari in the final. Just 48 hours earlier he secured a stoppage over Muhammad Lawal and earlier in the year started his tournament campaign with a submission over South Korean Hynh Man Myung.

Aliakbari progressed to the final with wins over Joao Almeida, Heath Herring and Valentin Moldavsky.

It’s just over 10 years since Filipovic secured the Pride openweight grand prix back in 2006.

The Rizin event took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan and was broadcast online via an online stream.

In notable non-tournament bouts Kron Gracie submitted Tatsuya Kawajiri with a second round submission while Hideo Tokoro secured an impressive armbar submission over Erson Yamamoto.


  • Mirko Filipovic def. Amir Aliakbari via KO (Punches), Rd 1, 2:03 – Rizin open weight tournament final
  • Kron Gracie def. Tatsuya Kawajiri via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 2:05
  • Hideo Tokoro def. Erson Yamamoto via Submission (Armbar), Rd 1, 1:19
  • Rena Kubota def. Hanna Gujwan via KO (Kick to body), Rd 3, 2:47
  • Andy Nguyen def. Miyu Yamamoto via Technical Submission (Armbar), Rd 1, 4:42
  • Kizaemon Saiga def. Dillin West via TKO (Punch & Stomp), Rd 1, 2:03
  • Gabi Garcia def. Yumiko Hotta via TKO (Punches), Rd 1, 0:42
  • Hayato Sakurai def. Wataru Sakata via TKO (Punches), Rd 2, 2:37
  • Amir Aliakbari def. Valentin Moldavsky via Decision (Split) – Rizin open weight semi-final
  • Mirko Filipovic def. Baruto Kaito via KO (Knee to body), Rd 1, 0:49 – Rizin open weight semi-final
  • Tenshin Nasukawa def. Dylan Oligo via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Rd 2, 0:37
Started Martial Arts training after watching Mr Miyagi and Daniel-son in Karate Kid back in 1987. By the time MMA arrived many years later, I was hooked. Coverage of local MMA was via scarce posts on forums like the Underground and Sherdog. I embarked on covering the sport in 2002 and since then have written thousands of articles for both print and online media, before branching out and starting Fight News Australia in 2010. Outside the site, I dream of riding in an F1 car.