PFL have announced the eight athletes set to complete in the 2024 PFL Europe Bantamweight tournament.

The 135lbs tournament will see many a fresh face and returning athlete alike, with both the men who competed in the 2023 final return for the 2024 tournament.

The Bantamweight tournament will kick off on June 8 at the Utilita Arena, Newcastle.

2023 Champion Khurshed Kakhorov returns to the PFL Smart Cage looking to defend his crown. In the 2023 tournament, a unanimous decision win against Moktar Benkaci was enough to qualify for the semi-finals. Another unanimous decision win against Ali Taleb in the semi final then set up a final bout against Frans Mlambo.

Mlambo come out of the gates quickly but Kakhorov managed to weather the storm and eventually took the bout to the ground in the first round. Once back to the feet, the Irishman was still having more success in the striking department until midway through the second round, Kakhorov caught Mlambo with a peach of a right hand that saw the Irishman drop to the mat. A few strikes later and the referee had stepped in and the contest was over.

UK MMA veteran Dean Garnett will make the walk to the Smart Cage for the first time as he enters the 135lbs tournament.

After a five year lay off from competition, Garnett made his victorious return at Hexagone MMA 6 in January 2023. He then made the walk twice more before the year was our and secured another two wins.

Another new face to the Bantamweight division is Alexander Luster. The German is yet to see the third round as a professional and 6 of his 7 wins coming in the very first round.

2023 finalist Frans Mlambo also returns to the fold. The SBG star finds himself 7-1 in his last 8 bouts with the only loss coming in last years final to the aforementioned Kakhorov. Prior to the loss in the final, Mlambo had picked up a litany of decision victories, with his unorthodox style proving to be too much for many an opponent.

Ayton De Paepe will be another new face looking to make his name inside the Smart Cage. Of his 12 victories, the 'Hitman' has ended half of those bouts inside the distance, with three of those coming by way of submission and three by KO/TKO. He comes into the tournament on a two fight winning streak.

Alperen Karabulut's inclusion in the tournament makes him the first man to represent Turkey in PFL's history. 'The Demigod' is fresh off the back of a first round knockout against Abdulkity Tojubaev in September 2023.

Bondo Kikadze secured his spot in the tournament with a win utterly dominating victory over Dominique Wooding at the PFL Europe 4. The victory for the Georgian was widely regarded to be somewhat of an upset and he will no doubt he looking to cause some more throughout the tournament.

The final man announced for the 135lbs tournament was former Cage Warriors Flyweight champion Luke Shanks will make the walk to the cage for the first time November 2022. 2024 marks Shanks' eighth year as a professional, having fought the whose who, at both Flyweight and Bantamweight, on the European scene. Currently training out of Higher Level Martial Arts, fans will be eagerly awaiting to see the improvements Shanks has made as he goes after the 2024 PFL European championship.

At the top of the PFL Europe 2024: 2 bill, local lady Savannah Marshall will make her highly anticipated MMA debut, the card is also set to feature the opening round of the Women's Flyweight tournament.