The one-night tournament is back in style. An eight-man, one-night lightweight tourney is in the works for Nov. 20 at World Series of Fighting 25. The victor will be awarded the next lightweight title shot against the winner of Justin Gaethje vs. Luis Palomino 2.
WSOF executive vice president Ali Abdel-Aziz announced the news Monday on The MMA Hour.
"The winner will fight three times, and it's going to crown a tournament champion," Abdel-Aziz said. "It's going back to the gladiator days. One gladiator fights and he keeps going and going until he achieves his ultimate goal."
The field of eight includes Dagestani prospect Islam Mamedov (12-1), UFC veteran Mike Ricci (10-4), Joao Zeferino (18-6), Rich Patishnock (6-2), Jorge Patino (37-15-2), Brian Cobb (20-8), plus the likely winner of WSOF 23's LaRue Burley (6-0) vs. Brian Foster (22-7) main card fight and another unnamed competitor.
The bracket will be seeded in general tournament style, with the No. 1 seed taking on the No. 8 seed in the opening round, No. 2 taking on No. 7, and so on.
Seeding is not yet finalized, though Mamedov (No. 1), Zeferino (No. 2), Cobb (No. 4), Burley/Foster winner (No. 5), Patishnock (No. 7), Patino (No. 8) are the tentative rankings.
"I think fans should be excited about it, because there's so much MMA out there. People are getting kind of tired, a little bit. There's so many shows. It's true," Abdel-Aziz said.
"That's good for the hardcore fan, but when you have an eight-man tournament, you want to sit in front of the TV and watch which gladiator is going to win the tournament -- which one is going to wrap his knee and go back into the second round, then is going to ice his eye from swelling and go back and fight this other gladiator and be a champion."
WSOF 25 is slated to take place in Seattle, WA, with the blessing of the Washington State Department of Licensing. The main card will air on NBC Sports Network.
Several reserve bouts will populate the undercard in the event that one of the tournament competitors is unable to move on due to injury or exhaustion.
Newly signed UFC and Strikeforce veteran Jason High (18-5) will also debut on the night's main card against ONE FC standout Caros Fodor (10-4).
"We just wanted to do something different," Adbel-Aziz said. "World Series of Fighting for the next three months will be kicking ass. We'll be putting on these great fight cards and we'll be bringing some big names back and we're building talent."
Update: This event won't be held in Seattle, according to Abdel-Aziz.