Former UFC and PRIDE veteran Heath Herring has been announced as a suprise late addition to Rizin’s open-weight Grand Prix on December 29th in Japan.
Unfortunately, the catch is that he’s coming in to replace one of the tournaments other big name stars, former UFC interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin who has pulled out of his fight for undisclosed reasons.
Herring has been out of the fight game since a 2008 loss to Brock Lesnar in the UFC, but he’s been tempted into putting his gloves back on at 38 years of age to compete in the end-of-year tournament.
Herring will face off against the 3-0 Amir Aliakbari in the quarter-finals of the tournament, and if he progresses he’d have to fight again in the semi-finals just two days later, with the final also taking place on New Years Eve.
Aliakbari is a two-time wrestling gold medalist, but the 29 year-old Iranian’s grappling career was marred after being banned for life and stripped of a medal due to receiving two separate doping suspensions between 2012-2013.
Meanwhile, Rizin officials have also confirmed that another recent addition to the grand prix, Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal will be fighting Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic in the quarter-finals after the Bellator star stepped in to replace the injured Wanderlei Silva.
The other two quarter-final tournament bouts see Kaido Hoovelson fight Tsuyoshi Kosaka and Valentin Moldavsky go up against Szymon Bajor.