As the unofficial sequel to Pride, Rizin Fighting Federation is trying to make an impact this year with their 16-Man Openweight Grand Prix.
With Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Baruto and Kazuyuki Fujita already confirmed, there are twelve spots left to be filled by fighting organizations all around the world. Over the next few months, Rizin will be shipping fighters over to Japan like Earthrealm warriors from Mortal Kombat.
One of the organizations participating is Full Metal Dojo in Thailand, where former two-time, Greco Roman Wrestling world champion Amir Aziz Aliakbari trains. Today, Aliakbari confirmed to Champions.co that he will indead be an entrant in the Openweight Grand Prix.
"Yes it's true ... I hope to prove myself in MMA for the world," he said.
At 6'4" and 265lbs, Aliakbari is a monster with wrestling credentials that speak for themselves. And at 28 years old, the Iranian is still a young heavyweight when compared to UFC's current roster.
Here's what training partner and ex-UFC fighter Soa Palelei said of Aliakbari to FOX Sports last year:
He's been in camp with Mark Hunt and if you can take punches from Mark Hunt, you know you're tough. His standup is getting really good and his wrestling is phenomenal. It's out of this world. Obviously he's a world champion so he's a beast when it comes to wrestling and he's got knockout power. [...] You need to watch out for this kid because this kid is going to make some headlines in the near future if not earlier.
It looks like Palelei's prophecy was right on the money. Aliakbari, currently 2-0 with both wins by TKO, will fight on his biggest stage yet, share the ring with living legends, and fight for himself, Iran and the world.
Watch Aliakbari's brutal 17 second TKO victory over Hyung Chul-Lee at Full Metal Dojo 7 below.