Cro Cop Wins Open Weight Grand Prix

Mirko Cro Cop won the 2016 RIZIN Grand Prix Open Weight in a performance that featured him earning two first-round knockouts in one night.

After defeating Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Cro Cop defeated Kaido Hoovelson, who is nearly 400 pounds, to advance to the finals later that night. He took on Amir Aliakbari, who defeated Valentin Moldavsky in the other semi-final, and Cro Cop defeated Aliakbari to win the tournament.

"Thank you for all the support for all three fights I had in Rizin; I can’t explain how happy I am," Filipovic said. "I came to this tournament with a lot of injuries and at the end of the day the belt is here. This was a very special night for me, ten years later after I won PRIDE Grand Prix. So many memories and feelings are going through me right now."

Hoovelson rushed towards Cro Cop and got him up against the ropes very early on, but one knee from Cro Cop to Hoovelson’s body caused the near 400-pounder to back up and fall down to the canvas, giving Cro Cop a TKO win in just 49 seconds. This bout was the polar opposite of what Aliakbari went through on his route to the final. Aliakbari won his bout against Moldavsky via split decision, needing to go the full two-round distance.

This no doubt gave Cro Cop an advantage heading into the final, and Cro Cop quickly won this bout as well. After executing a series of left hands, Cro Cop dropped Aliakbari and rushed him to the ground with more blows before the ref called a stop to the action at the 2:03 mark.

Main Card Results:
Grand Prix final: Mirko Filipovic def. Amir Aliakbari via KO (Rd. 1, 2:03)
Kron Gracie def. Tatsuya Kawajiri via submission (rear-naked choke) (Rd. 2, 2:05)
Hideo Tokoro def. Asen Yamamoto via submission (armbar) (Rd. 1, 1:19)
Rena Kubota def. Hanna Gujwan via KO (Rd. 3, 2:47)

Preliminary Card Results:
Andy Nguyen def. Miyu Yamamoto via submission (armbar) (Rd. 1, 4:42)
Kizaemon Saiga def. Dillin West via TKO (Rd. 1, 2:03)
Gabi Garcia def. Yumiko Hotta via TKO (Rd. 1, 0:41)
Hayato Sakurai def. Wataru Sakata via TKO (Rd. 2, 2:37)
Grand Prix semifinal: Amir Aliakbari def. Valentin Moldavsky via split decision
Grand Prix semifinal: Mirko Filipovic def. Kaido Hoovelson via TKO (Rd. 1, 0:49)
Tenshin Nasukawa def. Calico Orizio via submission (guillotine choke) (Rd. 2)

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