As noted, former NJPW superstar and current free agent Kota Ibushi will be competing at Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport event on March 30th, where he will be taking on IMPACT’s “Speedball” Mike Bailey. This is the former IWGP World Champion’s first official booking since his NJPW departure.
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Ibushi took the match due to his love of Fight Network Rings, also known as RINGS, which was a fight promotion that was established in 1995 and closed in 2002. The report states that RINGS had a very distinct MMA style, one that is similar to Barnett’s Bloodsport events.
Ibushi does have real fight experience. He won a shinkarate K-2 tournament in 2003, then fought AEW star Michael Nakazawa to a draw in 2014 in a shoot style exhibition match.