Rizin Fighting Federation on Monday held a lottery draw in Tokyo to determine the brackets for its upcoming eight-man heavyweight tournament.
The 2015 Rizin Fighting World Grand Prix will launch with four quarterfinal matchups at the Japanese organization’s inaugural event on Dec. 29, followed by the semifinal and final rounds on New Year’s Eve. Up for grabs in the tournament is nearly half a million dollars in prize money, with the winner taking home roughly $325,000, the runner-up claiming $80,000 and two losing semifinalists pocketing $40,000 apiece.
In the first bracket, former Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion “King” Mo Lawal will meet an as-yet-undetermined fighter selected by BAMMA. The English organization was set to send Mark Godbeer to participate, but the heavyweight titleholder withdrew last week after suffering a neck injury in training.
The winner of that matchup will move to the semifinals against the winner of a bout between Lithuanian prospect Teodoras Aukstuolis and Brazilian Jungle Fight titlist Bruno Cappelozza.
Bracket No. 2 will see 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii tangle with surging Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic. Opposite them is a bout pitting Croatian UFC vet Goran Reljic against Russia’s Vadim Nemkov, a combat sambo champion recommended to Rizin by none other than Fedor Emelianenko.
All tournament fights are scheduled for an opening round of 10 minutes, followed by two five-minute rounds. In the event of a draw, contestants will fight an additional five-minute “overtime” round, after which judges will decide a winner based on the entirety of the bout. Five judges will be used to score the final championship match on New Year’s Eve. Due to the tournament’s diverse field, Rizin has stated that it will hire international officials in an attempt to enhance neutrality.