An exploded bicep and UFC retirement won't be enough to shelve the legend of Cro Cop.
Announced over the weekend, former Pride star Mirko Filipovic (27-10-2 MMA, 16-7 Kickboxing) is scheduled to fight K-1 standout Ray Sefo (2-1 MMA, 56-21-1 Kickboxing) in a striking-rules contest on March 10th, 2012. The show, tentatively dubbed "Final Fight," takes place at Zagreb Arena in Zagreb, Croatia and is being organized by a local TV station to honor Filipovic's fabled career.
Sefo revealed the match-up via Twitter.
"Some news for you all," Sefo posted. "My fight with Mirko Cro Cop has been confirmed for March 10!"
The bout marks Cro Cop's first appearance since losing to Roy Nelson at UFC 137 and subsequently undergoing major surgery to repair a ruptured bicep tendon in his right arm. Despite the near-crippling procedure, the grizzled fighter openly yearned for a ringside homecoming in a recent interview.
"K-1 is the sport where I started," he explained. "This is my first love and I find K-1 more attractive and more suitable for our Croatian fans than MMA."
Filipovic fought in K-1 for nearly a decade before moving to mixed martial arts full-time in 2003. He closed his kickboxing career on a four-fight win streak, punctuated by an infamous victory over Bob Sapp in which he broke the American's orbital bone.
Following a star turn in Pride, the 37-year-old agonizingly fell back to Earth while amassing a 4-6 record in ten fights under the UFC banner. He was violently finished in five of those six losses.
Now, nine years after defeating Sapp, Cro Cop simply hopes to go out on top by returning to his roots.
"I am the kind of guy that always has some kind of ambitions. As long as my heart beats. I'm not sick ambitious and I don't want any kind of belt, but martial arts are everything to me. I train my whole life and everything I have came from this sport," Filipovic concluded. "This fire in me will last forever."