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Mirko Cro Cop's return highlights RIZIN openweight tourney first-round matchups

Esther Lin photo

The opening-round matchups are set for the RIZIN World Grand Prix 2016.

Six bouts have been announced for the single elimination, openweight tournament, which kicks off on Sept. 25 in Saitama, Japan.

Of biggest note is the return of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, the winner of the PRIDE 2006 open weight tourney. Filipovic (31-11-2) will meet fellow heavyweight Hyun Man Myung (3-2) of South Korea in Filipovic's first bout since 2014.

The remainder of the evening's tourney bouts:

LHW Theodorus Aukstuolis (Lithuania, 9-3) vs. HW Szymon Bajor (Poland, 15-6)

HW Amir Aliakbari (Iran/2-0) 2-0 vs. HW Joao Almeida (Brazil, 4-1)

Super HW Kaito "Baruto" Hoovelson (Estonia, 1-0) vs. HW Kazuyuki Fujita (Japan, 15-11)

LHW Karl Albrektsson (Sweden, 5-0) vs. LHW Valentin Moldavsky (Russia, 3-0)

LWH Jiri Prochazka (Czech, Republic, 17-3-1) vs. HW Mark Tanios (Lebanon, 4-1)

First-round fights are scheduled for two, five-minute rounds. If the bout is ruled a draw, there will be a winner-takes-all third round.

On Sept. 26, RIZIN will conduct a drawing to determine the brackets for the remainder of the tournament. It will consist of the six first-round winners, former PRIDE 205-pound champion Wanderlei Silva, and a fighter to be named later.

The quarterfinals and semis of the tournament will be held on Dec. 29 in Saitama; with the finals being contested two nights later in the same venue at the traditional New Year's Eve card.

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