The “absolute division” is usually run by division or belt rank. In some tournaments all are welcome to compete. In any case, assuming it is run by belt or division, you will have to face anyone who enters in any weight category within your belt rank or division. This means someone who weighs 125 pounds may face someone who weighs 275 pounds. In some events, cash prizes are awarded. Like I said a few times already, read the rules carefully. And if you do not understand something, ask your instructor to help interpret it for you.
Of note is a term you may hear called “sandbagging.” Sandbagging is a common term used to describe when someone is held back in rank or someone is fraudulent regarding the division they have signed up for. Some and many promotions do not do background checks on each competitor so it is easy to be dishonest and falsify your years of experience in order to compete in a class with people who have less experience than you. For the most part sandbagging is rare, but it does occasionally happen.
Do not get all caught up in the commotion of sandbagging as others may. What I mean by this is you can only control you and what you do and how you are. If you have integrity, as most do in this sport, everything should work out fine in terms of what division you enter. Some people progress at a faster pace, some schools take longer to promote. You may face a white belt with less skill than yourself, and you may potentially face a white belt that has more skill. It is impossible for event promotions to police and makes no sense getting hot and bothered about it.
Stick around for Part 3 coming out Wednesday