Fedor Emelianenko will square off with Pedro Rizzo on June 21 at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Evgeni Kogan, M-1 Global director of operations, announced the news Friday morning on his official Twitter feed. Kogan had previously teased Emelianenko’s return to the ring earlier this month, but an opponent had not been named until today. The June 21 event is expected to be an M-1 Global show and could air on pay-per-view.
Once considered the sport’s top heavyweight, Emelianenko, 35, saw a nine-year unbeaten stretch end when he was submitted by a Fabricio Werdum triangle choke in 2010. Two more defeats would follow for the Russian, who was finished by Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson in the Strikeforce cage last year. Emelianenko rebounded from the trio of defeats by posting a pair of wins to close out 2011, outpointing UFC veteran Jeff Monson in November before knocking out former Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii on New Year’s Eve.
A former UFC heavyweight title challenger, Rizzo has not competed professionally in nearly two years. “The Rock” returns to the ring riding a three-fight winning streak, having notched victories over Ken Shamrock, Gary Goodridge and Monson before entering hiatus. One of Marco Ruas’ most successful students, Rizzo, 37, owns notable career wins over Ricco Rodriguez, Mark Coleman, Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett and Dan Severn, among others.