Amir Aliakbari has signed with the UFC. The Iranian heavyweight began his career fighting and training in Asia and is best known for reaching the final of the Rizin World Grand Prix in 2016.

Aliakbari is a former wrestling champion who decided to switch codes after receiving a lifetime ban for repeated doping offences. He started training at AKA Thailand in 2015 and made his pro debut in Bangkok later that year.

The Iranian sprung to prominence by beating four separate opponents to reach the final of the Rizin Openweight Grand Prix. He was stopped by Mirko Crocop in the final.

His record currently stands at 10-1 and Aliakbari is coming off three straight wins for Russian promotion ACB. He follows in the footsteps of Cole Smith, another veteran of Thai promotion Full Metal Dojo who made his UFC debut this weekend.

Smith, who trained at Team Quest in Chiang Mai for several years, scored a unanimous decision win over fellow Canadian Mitch Gagnon at UFC on ESPN+ 5.