Naoyuki Kotani, ZST Champ and 14-year Japanese MMA veteran, will make his return to the UFC after a seven year absence. Team Extreme Athlete Management today announced the pick up of Kotani, with a subsequent signing to the UFC.
Locked up with RINGS as the ZST Champ in a seven year campaign, Kotani stepped onto the broader stage of VTJ where he was featured in the third and fourth events. He battered Daisuke Hoshino and finished him by slapping on an arm bar from standing, then in short succession he put on a grueling 3-rounder with Yoshihrio Koyama in which he won a decision born from creative defense transitions to submission attempts.
Kotani is a smothering grappler with a wealth of submission intuition. After an unsuccessful 2-fight stint in the UFC back in 2007, he now gets a second chance to shine on the international stage as he’s set to make his return on July 19th at UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Miller in Ireland. FightSportAsia reports that Kotani’s opponent is expected to be Ireland’s Norman Parke.