Josh Barnett will return to action for the first time in more than three years when he faces Ronny Markes at Bellator MMA’s “Salute the Troops” event in Hawaii on Dec. 20.
The promotion announced the heavyweight pairing on Wednesday. The card will take place at Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, and the main card will air on Paramount Network and Dazn. A previously confirmed card will take place the following day, topped by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane’s flyweight title defense against Kate Jackson.
Barnett has not competed since September 2016, when he submitted Andrei Arlovski in the third round at UFC Fight Night 93 in Hamburg, Germany. A veteran of organizations such as Pride, Strikeforce and K-1, Barnett owns notable wins over the likes of Roy Nelson, Frank Mir, Sergei Kharitonov, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Hunt and Randy Couture, to name a few.
Markes is coming off a brief stint with the Professional Fighters League, where he failed to qualify for the organization’s postseason. The 31-year-old has competed at lightweight and middleweight over the course of a career that included stints with the UFC, Shooto Brazil and World Series of Fighting.