Emelianenko will square off with Pedro Rizzo on
June 21 at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Evgeni Kogan, M-1 Global
director of operations, announced the news Friday morning on his
official Twitter feed. Kogan had previously teased Emelianenko’s
return to the ring earlier this month, but an opponent had not been
named until today. The June 21 event is expected to be an M-1
Global show and could air on pay-per-view.
Once considered the sport’s top heavyweight, Emelianenko, 35, saw a
nine-year unbeaten stretch end when he was submitted by a Fabricio
Werdum triangle choke in 2010. Two more defeats would follow
for the Russian, who was finished by Antonio
Silva and Dan
Henderson in the Strikeforce
cage last year. Emelianenko rebounded from the trio of defeats by
posting a pair of wins to close out 2011, outpointing UFC veteran
Monson in November before knocking out former Olympic judo gold
Ishii on New Year’s Eve.
UFC heavyweight title challenger, Rizzo has not competed
professionally in nearly two years. “The Rock” returns to the ring
riding a three-fight winning streak, having notched victories over
Goodridge and Monson before entering hiatus. One of Marco Ruas’
most successful students, Rizzo, 37, owns notable career wins over
Rodriguez, Mark Coleman,
Arlovski, Josh Barnett
Severn, among others.