BKFC mulls Britain Hart-Christine Ferea rematch

Britain Hart’s smashing win over former UFC star Paige VanZant in the BKFC KnuckleMania two weeks ago could line her up for a potential title fight — a rematch against Christine Ferea.

Hart’s first title shot ended in a split decision against Bec Rawlings in 2019. After scoring two straight victories, Hart believes she’s ready for another title shot.

No less than BKFC President and CEO David Feldman is intrigued by that potential rematch for the vacant featherweight title.

“[Britain] is calling for a title fight. She’s lost to Christine Ferea in the past. I think it will be a great rematch because she’s learned a lot about the sport more,” Feldman told Empire Sports Media. [Britain] is gritty. She’s tough and I think that could be a tough fight. It’s definitely something that we’re looking at right now.”

Hart lost to Ferea in both fighters’ second fight in the promotion back in 2019. A nasty cut in Hart’s left eye following a barrage of punches from Ferea forced a doctor’s stoppage in the second round.

Hart is eager to avenge that loss. But Ferea, who announced that she’d fight in May, isn’t keen on a rematch with Hart.

“I just want whoever is next. I can’t say anybody specifically because I don’t know. Do I want Britain Hart? No, because I beat her. I know I’ll beat her again. I know she’s made some improvements. But she’s made improvements against people that are nothing close to my level. So I feel like she needs a little bit more time in order to catch up, to be able to have some chance in a fight with me,” Ferea told mymmanews.com recently.

Another option for Hart is an immediate rematch with VanZant or a non-title fight against Jenny Savage, who called her out after her KnuckleMania win.

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Hart, Rawlings or somebody else? Feldman weighs in on Paige VanZant’s next BKFC fight

Paige VanZant isn’t going anywhere.

After a disappointing Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut, where she lost to Britain Hart via unanimous decision, VanZant isn’t backing down from the challenge of the new sport.

“Immediately after the fight, she said I want to do this again. That says a lot about her as a fighter. So we’re not looking to cut ties with the Paige VanZant brand at any time in the near future,” BKFC President and CEO David Feldman told Empire Sports Media.

The former UFC star looked tentative at the start of the fight, with Hart taking the action to her. But Feldman saw promising signs in the latter rounds that made him convinced VanZant has what it takes to become successful in the BKFC.

“She kinda came alive in the fourth and fifth round. And that was encouraging for me. She showed a lot of grit and determination, so we’ll probably bring her back in the summertime, early to mid-summer,” Feldman said. “She’s very interested in coming back.”

VanZant told Sirius XM show Knuckle Up Radio that she wants to get back into the BKFC ring in April.

Feldman, however, has yet to determine who will be her next opponent.

“We’ll have to sit down to talk about who’s next for her and who makes sense. She didn’t get fed any easy win her on her first fight. And it showed as she came out with a loss. It’s gonna be the same way moving forward. That’s how we’re building the sport,” Feldman said.

A rematch with Hart is on the table, but it depends on some variables, according to Feldman.

“It could be an option [Britain Hart rematch]. We’ll see if people will be intrigued by that. We’ll see what happens,” he said.

Another intriguing matchup could be against former BKFC champion Bec Rawlings who is now with Bellator. Rawlings, who lost to VanZant in UFC before, said back in December that she’s open for a rematch. In the same interview, she also added that VanZant would have a tougher time in BKFC than in UFC. And it showed in VanZant’s loss to one of Rawlings’ earlier victims in BKFC.

“That’s also an option (Bec Rawlings) as well as a couple of ladies. With Bec, she left on good terms. We have a good relationship, and there’s a strong possibility that she could be back, and that could be against Page,” Feldman said.

VanZant, however, isn’t too keen on a Rawlings rematch prior to her BKFC debut.

“Of course, she wants to fight me again. I knocked her out with a head kick the last time we fought. [I’m] really interested in fighting people who I haven’t fight yet or haven’t beaten. So if she wants to come back to BKFC, that’s totally fine, and if the matchup makes sense, but I’m in Bare Knuckle Boxing working my way in the division for a title. And I just don’t want to fight people because they want to call me out,” VanZant told Empire Sports Media ahead of her fight against Hart.

But after losing to Hart, VanZant could have a change of heart.

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BKFC bet big on Paige VanZant and lost

This past Friday at BKFC 16, Paige VanZant (0-1) made her highly anticipated Bare Knuckle debut. PVZ saw her UFC contract come to a close in 2020 and was one of the most high profiled free agents last year.

Bellator and BKFC battled it out to get her to sign. Ultimately, VanZant made the surprising decision to sign with Bare Knuckle. The deal supposedly pays her ten times more per fight than she was making with the UFC. Worth noting, she was making $40,000 to show, $40,000 to win with the UFC.

The word is that VanZant would be bringing home close to a million dollars per fight with BKFC. Bare Knuckle has been trying to get more mainstream and they saw PVZ as a golden opportunity and they didn’t let it pass them by.

I have to say, I completely agree with their thought process. VanZant has amassed a big following on social media over the past few years. The former UFC fighter has also been featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swim Suit edition.

BKFC saw VanZant as an opportunity to make Bare Knuckle more mainstream. However, it would require PVZ doing well fighting for them. They gave her Britain Hart (2-2) in her debut and it didn’t go well on Friday night.

What’s next after BKFC 16?

I said in my preview that BKFC wasn’t doing VanZant any favors in her first fight. While Hart was just 1-2 in Bare Knuckle, she had eleven professional boxing matches. The girl knows how to throw her hands.

Meanwhile VanZant was always known more for her kicks than her punches when it came to striking in the UFC. Now, VanZant is the better athlete and she’s more explosive which is why I ultimately picked her to win in a razor close fight.

On Friday night, we saw VanZant show off that explosiveness in the fifth round. However, at that point it was a little too late. Britain Hart completely flustered PVZ for the first four rounds at BKFC 16.

Her pure boxing skills gave VanZant trouble and as a result, all three judges awarded Hart the first four rounds on the cards. The only round that VanZant ended up winning was the fifth and final round.

Had VanZant won, BKFC would have likely given her a shot against Bec Rawlings (3-0). Rawlings is the BKFC flyweight champion and she has history with VanZant. PVZ defeated Rawlings back in the UFC so that could’ve led to a big rematch in Bare Knuckle.

However, it was not meant to be. Now, BKFC has to figure out what to do with VanZant next. A likely scenario could be an immediate rematch with Hart or they give her a gimme fight to get her in the win column. Either way, Friday night didn’t go as planned for VanZant or Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.

Paige VanZant open to fight Bec Rawlings in BKFC on one condition

Will a Paige VanZant-Bec Rawlings rematch happen in BKFC?

Back in December, Rawlings floated her interest to fight VanZant in BKFC.

“With Bare-Knuckle signing Paige, it’s definitely garnered a lot of interest in people wondering if I’m going to fight her,” Rawlings told mmafighting.com. “I would love that fight. [I’m] sure we could probably try to work something out with Bellator and Bare Knuckle, doing a cross-promotion thing. I don’t know, I’d be down for that. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

But when asked for her reaction, VanZant isn’t as excited as Rawlings about the prospect of a rematch.

“Of course, she wants to fight me again. I knocked her out with a head kick the last time we fought. [I’m] really interested in fighting people who I haven’t fight yet or haven’t beaten. So if she wants to come back to BKFC, that’s totally fine, and if the matchup makes sense, but I’m in Bare Knuckle Boxing working my way in the division for a title. And I just don’t want to fight people because they want to call me out,” VanZant told Empire Sports Media in an exclusive interview last Tuesday ahead of her BKFC debut against Britain Hart.

Aching for Payback

VanZant will headline BKFC’s Knucklemania tonight, and if she emerges victorious, a Rawlings rematch could be in the pipeline.

Rawlings has a perfect 3-0 record in BKFC, including a split decision against Hart, before she returned to MMA via Bellator.

The Australian brawler wants to exact revenge for her 2016 loss to VanZant in UFC. VanZant won the fight via a second-round TKO with a stunning switch kick.

The loss to VanZant started the fall of Rawlings in the UFC. She never recovered as she also lost her next three fights and was subsequently released.

Rawlings revamped her career with BKFC.

Crossover Star

But unlike Rawlings, VanZant left UFC on her terms. While she lost her last UFC fight against Amanda Ribas, VanZant left the MMA octagon with a solid 8-5 record. She successfully became a crossover star and one of the most recognizable MMA fighters after reaching the finals of the Dancing With Stars in 2016.

While VanZant maintained her focus is on BKFC for now, she’s keeping her options open. She revealed that her BKFC contract has a clause that will allow her to fight in the octagon again.

“The fortunate thing about Bare Knuckle, I could take an MMA fight, boxing fight during my contract with them. I definitely haven’t closed the door on MMA at all or straight boxing. I think I’m just excited about this opportunity. I think it opens up the doors for me to continue to compete and be a more well-rounded martial artist,” VanZant said.

But first things first, the 26-year old VanZant needs to take care of business tonight against Hart.

She’s confident that she’ll shock the world after her six-month training with American Top Team.

How to watch VanZant-Hart fight:

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 www.bareknuckle.tv/orderppv.

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