Former Strikeforce heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov will return to the cage at M-1 Challenge 53: Battle in the Celestial Kingdom against Satoshi Ishii, the promotion announced recently.
The card, set for November 11 from Beijing, China, will also feature Marcin Tybura and Denis Smoldarev in a battle to crown the M-1 Challenge heavyweight champion. The card will stream online.
Kharitonov (21-5) owns 11 knockout and nine more wins via submission, while Ishii (12-3) is was a gold medalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Tybura (11-0) and Smoldarev (8-0) are both unbeaten and Tubura will carry the title to the fight.
The 34-year-old Kharitonov has fought just one in MMA since 2013, defeating Tyler East earlier this year in the second round. He has kept active in kickboxing, and is 5-1 in his last six MMA fights – losing only to Josh Barnett in 2011.
He holds wins over Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, Pedro Rizzo and Mike Russow to his credit.
Ishii, 27 years old, had won eight in a row before falling to Mirko CroCop due to a cut this past August. Prior to that, his last loss came in 2011 to Fedor Emelianenko. He owns a 2012 decision win over Tim Sylvia and a decision vs. Jeff Monson from last year to his credit.
Emelianenko worked for years with M-1 Global before announcing his retirement.