Paige VanZant on BKFC debut: I’ll shock and surprise fans

Former UFC star Paige VanZant is ready to shock the world!

VanZant will make her much anticipated BKFC debut in the main event of the KnuckleMania against Britain Hart at the RP Funding Center in Tampa, Florida, on Friday.

Shock the world

The 26-year old VanZant, who signed a lucrative four-fight deal with BKFC, is excited to unveil the new striking techniques she learned from the American Top Team, widely considered as one of the world’s top MMA facilities and home to MMA champions.

“I definitely think I’ll shock and surprise fans. Back when I was watching some MMA, and my old UFC fights and I can see very clearly how much better is my striking now than it has ever been. I can see the growth and development. If I can see it, I think the world will be able to see that as well,” VanZant told Empire Sports Media in an exclusive interview ahead of the fight.

With the world virtually shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic, VanZant was able to focus on training for this fight even after contracting the virus last September.

The global pandemic put her modeling and TV appearances on the backburner as the pretty MMA fighter has spent the last sixth months exclusively in the renowned gym in Coconut Creek, Florida.

“The most important thing going from MMA to straight boxing or MMA to bare knuckle boxing is that to focus on technique. Because it’s so important not to leave any room for error that can get you to an extremely dangerous position, especially with no gloves on, it can leave you with a cut opened or a knockout. You really have to be one of the smartest fighters out there and really stick to your game plan and not leave any room for opening,” VanZant said.

VanZant said American Top Team has a bare knuckle boxing program, which helped her tremendously prepare for the fight.

First Test

Hart, who has enjoyed more success as a boxer than in BKFC, will pose her first test in the promotion. The Virginia native has a 4-4-3 record as a boxer and a 1-2 slate in BKFC. But she has the momentum coming off her first BKFC win — a fourth-round TKO against Randine Eckholm — and is eager for a big follow-up against the promotion’s newest star.

“She’s really tough. [She’s] a veteran at the sport. [She’s] had professional boxing matches, Bare Knuckle Boxing matches so she’s super tough and experienced. That’s why I’m super excited about this matchup because I have to fight somebody who’s known in the sport and she absolutely is. She’s fought some of the best female professional Bare Knuckle boxers and I’m excited to test myself,” VanZant said of her opponent.

Hart has a big chip on her shoulder after Paige said the fight “sounds like an easy win” upon accepting her challenge.

Bloody Fight

In what promises to be a brutal and competitive fight, Paige, known as ’12 Gauge’ in the MMA circuit, isn’t worried about leaving the ring with a bloodied face as long as she gets the win.

“A lot of people think [Bare Knuckle boxing] is more brutal but for me, I see it as the opposite. MMA is more dangerous, especially for long-term injuries. You’ll see in Bare Knuckle boxing, people can get cut opened but that’s only superficial. Coming from the UFC to Bare Knuckle Boxing, I’m not necessarily worried about getting cut open. That’s not a big deal for me. The superficial part of it will heal. But long-term damage like tearing your knee, getting kneed on the face or head is so much worse than I think a punch in the face,” VanZant explained.

The VanZant-Hart fight will be available Live on Pay-Per-View including DISH, DIRECTV, IN DEMAND, ROGERS, SASKTEL, SHAW, and VUBIQUITY, and via the digital app FITE, as well as the BKFC website

KnuckleMania starts on PPV at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PM and will be distributed by Multi Vision Media.

Two Free Preliminary Fights will be broadcast on the BKFC YouTube Channel and Facebook pages starting at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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