Real Fight Championship will next month begin an eight-man tournament to crown its first lightweight champion, the Japanese organization has announced.
Five of the bracket’s participants were revealed on Friday during a press conference at Tokyo Dome City (TDC) Hall, where Real 5 will take place on June 12.
Heading the tournament field is five-time UFC competitor and former Zst lightweight ace Naoyuki Kotani, who will compete for the first time since being released by the UFC in October. Although the 34-year-old grappler exited the Octagon on the back of three straight defeats, Kotani has won his last 13 appearances for Japanese promoters, a streak which stretches back to September 2010.
Other fighters announced for the lightweight tournament were longtime JMMA mainstay Ryuki Ueyama, upsized featherweight Sho Kogane, Kyrgyzstani newcomer Akhmat Akhmedov and Ukrainian sambo champion Dmitriy Parubchenko.
Parubchenko’s twin brother, Vladislav Parubchenko, will also be on the June 12 bill, as he faces former Shooto Pacific Rim titleholder Yoshifumi Nakamura in the semifinals of Real’s featherweight title tournament. The other side of that bracket sees Takahiro Ashida square off against Nurbergen Sharipov.
Meanwhile, Real’s super lightweight (163 pounds) tournament will draw to a close on June 12, with either Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza or underdog Pat “Zuzu” Ayuyu taking home a brand new title belt.