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UFC signs Iranian heavyweight wrestler Amir Aliakbari

Amir Aliakbari defeated longtime MMA veteran Heath Herring in Rizin
Sachiko Hotaka, Rizin FF

Amir Aliakbari is the newest addition to the UFC heavyweight division.

Aliakbari, who racked up a 10-1 record as a professional fighter since the start of his MMA career in 2015, held a press conference in Iran to sign the contract in front of the cameras, MMATV reported Saturday morning.

The 31-year-old heavyweight competed for the last time on March 16, scoring a first-round TKO over Shelton Graves in Russia. Aliakbari competed under the Rizin banner between 2016 and 2017, defeating the likes of Heath Herring and Geronimo dos Santos. The only defeat of his MMA career came against veteran Mirko Cro Cop in Dec. 2016.

Aliakbari was a decorated wrestler before starting his MMA career, winning the 2010 world greco-roman title before failing a drug test for anabolic steroids. The Iranian wrestler served a suspension and came back to win a second world title in 2013, but was stripped of the gold medal and banned for life by wrestling’s governing body FILA after testing positive for steroids a second time.

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