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Heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestling champion Amir Aliakbari signs with ONE Championship

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

Amir Aliakbari’s time with the UFC was over before it began, but the heavyweight prospect is making the move to another major promotion after signing with ONE Championship.

The Singapore-based organization announced the signing of Aliakbari (10-1) on Tuesday, after an initial report by ESPN. Aliakbari, who hails from Iran, is a two-time Greco-Roman wrestling world champion.

In May 2019, Aliakbari signed with the UFC, only to see his debut indefinitely postponed. It’s unclear if the delay had to do with sanctions Aliakbari faced prior to joining the UFC (Aliakbari failed drug tests in 2010 and 2013, the second of which resulted in a lifetime ban from the former International Wrestling Federation) or a contract dispute with Aliakbari’s previous employer Absolute Championship Akhmat.

Regardless, Aliakbari did not book a UFC fight and by the end of 2019 he had parted ways with the promotion.

Aliakbari, 32, most recently competed at an ACA show in March 2019, where he defeated Shelton Graves by first-round TKO. He has won five straight fights and holds notable wins over veteran Heath Herring, former UFC fighter Daniel Omielanczuk, and current Bellator fighter Valentin Moldavsky. His lone loss came at the hands of Mirko Cro Cop at RIZIN’s year-end show in December 2016.

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