Shane Carwin will face Amir Aliakbari in his first mixed martial arts bout since 2011 as part of Rizin’s open-weight grand prix.
The promotion announced the pairing on Tuesday. The other quarterfinal matchups are Mirko Filipovic vs. Wanderlei Silva; Kaido Hoovelson vs. Tsuyoshi Kosaka and Valentin Moldavsky vs. Szymon Bajor. Kosaka replaces Jiri Prochazka, who pulled out of the event due to a knee injury.
The quarterfinal round takes place at Rizin 3 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Dec. 29, with the semifinals and championship set for Dec. 31. The Filipovic-Silva winner will face the Hoovelson-Kosaka winner, while the Carwin-Aliakbari winner locks horns with the Moldavsky-Bajro winner.
Carwin, the former UFC interim heavyweight champion, recently ended a five-year retirement. He last appeared at UFC 131, where he lost a unanimous decision to Junior dos Santos. Aliakbari, 28, is 3-0 as a professional, including a first-round stoppage of Joao Isidoro Almedia at Rizin 2.