Pride FC 2006 Open Weight Gran Prix Champion Mirko Cro Cop (23-6-2) will fight decorated K-1 kickboxing champion, Jerome LeBanner (3-1), in a heavyweight bout slated for DREAM 4 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on June 16, according to MMA-ID.
Cro Cop most recently recovered from back-to-back losses inside the Octagon (Gabriel Gonzaga and Cheick Kongo) to take out Tatsuya Mizuno with ease during the inaugural show for DREAM last month. He has vowed to put together at least three consecutive wins and return to the UFC as early as January 2009 to redeem himself.
However, a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko on New Year's Eve possibly stands in his way, as well as the French-born, LeBanner.
LeBanner has not competed in mixed martial arts since 2006. And although his MMA experience is limited, his kickboxing resume is not. In fact, he's been in against the best, including Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, Semmy Schilt, Mark Hunt and others.
Cro Cop and LeBanner have actually competed against one another during a K-1 event in 1996, which the Croatian won via unanimous decision. Expect a similar bout: Striking, striking and more striking. It would be a total shock if this match hits the canvas.
DREAM 4 will also feature other fights and the second round of the middleweight grand prix. Stay tuned for more details.