TOKYO – November 9, 2016 – RIZIN FF announced at a press conference today matchups and brackets for the combat sports federation’s historic open weight tournament that picks up in the quarterfinal round of action on Thursday, December 29 and concludes with both its semifinal stage and championship rounds of battle on Saturday, December 31, as part of its New Year’s Eve extravaganza that will consist of two complete fight cards over the course of the two days at Saitama Super Arena.

In one bracket, the much-anticipated showdown between all-time greats Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (MMA: 32-11-1, 1 NC; Kickboxing: 23-8, 12 KO’s) and Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC) will unfold, as will the matchup between former sumo wrestling champion Kaido “Baruto” Hoovelson (2-0) and ironman Tsuyoshi “TK” Kosaka (27-18-2).

In the other bracket, former UFC superstar Shane Carwin (12-2) will take on unbeaten Amir Aliakbari (3-0), and undefeated Valentine Moldavsky (5-0) will collide with fellow finisher Szymon Bajor (16-6).

Additionally, it was announced that Jiri “Denisa” Prochazka, who defeated Mark Tanios in the first stage of the tournament, will not be able to compete in the quarterfinal stage due to a knee injury.

The winner of the quarterfinal stage bout between Filipovic and Silva will face the victor of the bout between Hoovelson and Kosaka in the semifinal stage of the tournament, while the winner of the matchup between Carwin and Aliakbari will square off with the winner of the matchup between Moldavsky and Bajor in the semifinal round of battle.

The two semifinal stage bout winners will face one another in the tournament’s championship bout. All quarterfinal and semifinal stage bouts will consist of two rounds, five minutes each, and the championship stage bout will consist of three rounds, five minutes each.

In the event that a draw is declared after any fight, an additional round will be contested in order to determine a winner.

Additional, non-tournament matchups will be announced for the RIZIN FF fight cards on December 29 and December 31, soon.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Wanderlei Silva

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Filipovic of Zagreb, Croatia and the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Silva of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil, two of martial arts fighting’s great icons, will clash for the third time in their respective, legendary careers.

In their initial meeting over 14 years ago, on April 28, 2002 at PRIDE 20, the two slugged it out for five full rounds before the bout was declared a draw.

On September 10, 2006, they faced off for the second time in the PRIDE ring, with Filipovic bringing the contest to an abrupt end by landing a punishing head kick that put Silva on the canvas in the first round (5:26) of the rematch.

Filipovic is coming off a first round (2;20) submission (arm-triangle choke) of Hyun Man Myung in the round of 16 stage of the tournament that was completed on September 25, while Silva will make his first start in the RIZIN FF ring after securing a wild card entry into the tournament.

In his last start on March 2, 2013, Silva scored a blistering, second round (4:08) KO (punches) on Brian Stann in the UFC Octagon.

Kaido “Baruto” Hoovelson vs. Tsuyoshi Kosaka

The massive, 6-foot-6, 360-plus pound Hoovelson has reinvented himself since making his professional MMA debut at the inaugural RIZIN FF event on December 31, 2015 when he notched a unanimous decision victory over K-1 kickboxing legend Peter Aerts.

Hoovelson turned in a strong follow-up performance on September 25, defeating longtime fan favorite and battle-tested warrior Kazuyuki Fujita by way of unanimous decision in the first stage of the open weight tournament to reach the quarterfinal round.

Another pioneer of the sport, the 5-foot-11, 225-pound Kosaka of Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan is the man who famously handed all-time, pound-for-pound great Fedor Emelianenko his first-career loss – a 17-second TKO (doctor stoppage) – and the only loss Emelianenko sustained for nearly a decade.

During his career that has spanned over two decades, Kosaka has done battle with a who’s who in MMA icons, including Randy “The Natural Couture, Frank Shamrock, Bas Rutten and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, whom Kosaka fought to a draw in August 2000. Kosaka also boasts a victory over former UFC champion Maurice Smith.

Shane Carwin vs. Amir Aliakbari

Three years after announcing his retirement, the 41-year-old Carwin, a resident of Denver, Colo. who was crowned interim UFC heavyweight champion after scoring a crushing knockout (punches) on Frank Mir on March 27, 2010, will return to action as a wild card entrant in the RIZIN FF tournament.

The heavy-handed, 6-foot-2, 250-pound battler has produced all 12 of his professional career victories, including the five he notched under the promotion of the UFC, by way of first round (T)KO or submission.

Hailing from Shahriar, Tehran, Iran, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Aliakbari is a 28-year-old former Greco Roman wrestler who, like Carwin, has procured all of his wins to date inside of one round.

After scoring a pair of TKO wins – each with a barrage of punches – in his first two MMA starts in 2015, Aliakbari performed similarly in his first effort of 2016, a RIZIN FF first stage tournament matchup with Joao Isidoro Almeida, decimating Almeida with an onslaught of punches to claim a TKO victory at the 2:25 mark of the bout’s opening stanza.

Valentine Moldavsky vs. Szymon Bajor

Fighting out of Stary Oskol, Russia, the 24-year-old Moldavsky, a Sambo champion and protégé of Emelianenko, banked a unanimous decision win over Karl Albrektsson in the round of 16 stage of the RIZIN FF tournament on September 25.

Prior to his latest conquest, Moldavsky hadn’t been taken the distance of a fight, submitting each of his first four opponents within two rounds of battle.

Ranked amongst the top 10 heavyweights in Eastern Europe, the 6-foot-2, 245-pound Bajor of Rzeszow, Poland has emerged a standout under the promotional umbrella of KSW in his home country, and will aim for his third consecutive win on December 29.

Bajor clinched his place in the quarterfinal stage of the RIZIN affair by taking a unanimous decision from Teodoras Aukstuolis in the first stage of battle on September 25.