Christine Ferea returns to headline BKFC in September

While Paige VanZant and Britain Hart headline a stacked women’s card in the BKFC 19, Christine “Misfit” Ferea‘s time is coming soon.

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President David Feldman bared that Ferea will headline a BKFC event in September in Florida.

“She’ll face an undefeated professional boxer. We’re gonna announce that [Thursday]. She has a good test in front of her,” Feldman told Empire Sports Media ahead of the BKFC 19 this Friday.

“[Christine] is certainly in the mix for that 125 lb belt. She’s been here for a long time. She has always fought very well and dominated a lot of her opponents.”

Ferea hadn’t fought since September 11 last year, when she won over Callie Cutler via TKO in the second round. Ferea has a 3-1 record in the BKFC, with her only loss coming at the hands of former women’s champion Helen Peralta.

Feldman said that a BKFC women’s championship is in the works down the line. If Ferea makes a successful comeback, she will be a strong contender to take the belt.

“We have a lot of different girls that could really compete in that little tournament for a championship. We’re gonna go over that next week. We want to see the results first of the Paige VanZant-Rachael Ostovich and the Britain Hart-Jenny Paige fights,” Feldman said.

Ferea beat Hart in BKFC in 2019, while she defeated Ostovich at Invicta back in 2017.

Meanwhile, VanZant hopes for a knockout win against Ostovich Friday to redeem herself from a disappointing BKFC debut loss to Hart. A VanZant and Hart win at BKFC 19 will make the women’s division more interesting, with Ferea returning to the picture. A Ferea-Hart or Ferea-Ostovich rematch is also an intriguing possibility.

The BKFC 19 will air on FITE.TV (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT) in addition to the BKTV APP for existing subscribers.

Advance tickets starting at $65 are now on sale through BKFC.com. The Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 US-301, Tampa, FL 33610. Doors will open on the night of the event at 7:00 p.m. ET, with the first bell at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Paige VanZant out for redemption in BKFC 19 as Pedro Diaz beefs up her camp

With the addition of a world-renowned boxing trainer to her camp, Paige VanZant goes for a knockout in her second fight in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.

VanZant is out to prove that her debut loss to Britain Hart was just a fluke when she fights Rachael Ostovich on Friday at the main event of the BKFC 19 at the Florida State Fairground in Tampa.

Vanzant has enlisted the services of Pedro Diaz, who has trained seven world boxing champions, including Miguel Cotto and Guillermo Rigondeaux. She’s splitting time with Diaz and at the American Top Team.

“I had an amazing training camp in Miami, Florida. Pedro Diaz will be in my corner. It’s been a great experience, and I’m really confident going into this one,” VanZant told Empire Sports Media on Wednesday.

VanZant is familiar with her second BKFC opponent. She has previously beaten Ostovich in the UFC two years ago via submission. While she has the mental edge and the BKFC experience, VanZant isn’t leaving anything to chance.

“Of course, I’m going to go for a knockout. But the most important thing is really for me to fight smart. That’s gonna get me the win,” VanZant said.

VanZant is coming to this fight with the momentum of her solid showing in the final two rounds against Hart, where she started to look comfortable with the new combat sport.

“I think it was just getting the experience of knowing what to expect, knowing how the fight is going to feel. There were a lot of changes coming from MMA, especially in terms of the style of fighting,” Vanzant said. “Hopefully, you’ll see a better boxer. That’s the plan.”

BKFC President David Feldman expects an explosive fight between the two women who are out to prove that this sport is for them. 

“People say it’s a rematch but it’s not really a rematch since it’s a different sport,” Feldman told Empire Sports Media. There’s a lot of storylines in this fight. And a lot of curiosity here.”

The VanZant-Ostrovich fight headlines a stacked BKFC 19 card that also includes Hart vs. Jenny Savage grudge match and the heavyweight fight between former BKFC heavyweight champion Arnold Adams (4-1) and the undefeated Michael Terrill (4-0), where the winner could have a shot at reigning champion Joey Beltran.

The BKFC 19 will air on FITE.TV (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT) in addition to the BKTV APP for existing subscribers.

Advance tickets starting at $65 are now on sale through BKFC.com. The Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 US-301, Tampa, FL 33610. Doors will open on the night of the event at 7:00 p.m. ET, with the first bell at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

 

BKFC: Hart eyes Savage grudge match but also wants to serve Ferea a ‘humble pie’

Just three weeks after her sensational win against former UFC star Paige VanZant in the main event of the BKFC KnuckleMania, Britain Hart is already back in training.

She’s hoping that her next fight would be for the title after her heart-stopping win against VanZant.

“I’m still on Cloud 9 obviously. I’m more motivated than ever that’s why I’m out here in Puerto Rico training. That [win] has changed my life,” Hart told Empire Sports Media via zoom call.

 While she hopes her next fight would be for the title, she’s also setting her sights on Jenny Savage, who made a scene during Hart’s KnuckleMania post-fight interview.

“After I won over [Randine] Eckholm in BKFC 14, I called Paige out and Paige took it the liberty to come to the ring with me, so I really think that anyone who has the guts and the courage to come to the ring and challenge me in the ring when I’m on my fight night deserves to lose to me,” Hart said.

“Jenny Savage came in and was pretty disrespectful coming to the ring on my main event moment. So honestly, I wanna say Jenny Savage is next. I gotta show her the same thing I had to show Paige. You don’t come to the ring with me on my fight night.”

The brewing rivalry between the two bare-knuckle boxers apparently started after Hart got the Paige VanZant fight which Savage also wanted.

It picked up steam when Savage made her BKFC debut last December with Hart as a guest fight commentator.

Hart said she went to Savage to congratulate her on her second-round stoppage of Sheena Starr at BKFC 15. She was complimentary of the Tennesee Gangster’s “really good overhand.” But Savage instead took offense and answered back: “That’s not my best punch. You haven’t seen my best punch yet.”

Hart-Ferea word war

BKFC President and CEO David Feldman earlier told Empire Sports Media that he’s also looking at a potential Hart-Christine Ferea rematch.

Ferea recently dismissed a Hart rematch.

“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.

Hart was visibly pissed upon learning Ferea’s comments and blew her top.

“It’s a ridiculous statement. Anybody could look at that Paige VanZant [fight]. Christine, I’m sorry to hate on you, like mad respect to you. The fact that I beat a UFC veteran, a UFC athlete who trains in the American Top Team, again on what level are you putting yourself on? Misfit isn’t undefeated in the BKFC. She’s beatable. Helen [Peralta] did it. The fact that she’s already saying she’s a level above fighters that come from the UFC and Bellator and other things like that, just shows where her mind is and her mind is not in the right place,” Hart said.

Hart said that she’s tired of Ferea’s flip-flopping statements and added that Ferea’s win against her isn’t convincing enough not to warrant a rematch.

“She’s flip-floppy. ‘One minute, I’m retiring from BKFC, and then the next minute, oh give me someone next. Britain Hart is the same fighter, Britain Hart has made improvements.’ I’m tired of her back-and-forth, wish-washy stuff. The rematch? Yeah for sure. Again, she didn’t knock me down. I never hit the canvass with her. I got a doctor’s stoppage with that cut under my eye. The fact that she even wants to say that’s a glorious knockout is just ridiculous. You don’t have to like me as a fighter and like her as a fighter,” Hart said.

Ferea holds a 3-1 record in the BKFC and was the first woman to win the Police Gazette title. Her lone loss came at the hands of Peralta in 2019 in what is considered to be one of the best BKFC fights of the year.

Ferea last saw action in September last year when she stopped Callie Cutler via second-round TKO. She stunned everyone when she announced on her Instagram last January that she’s retiring from BKFC.

But she was quick to come out of retirement and announced that she’d be fighting in May.

“I guess she’s just salty that she’s not the center of the attention and the limelight is not on her. So she’s gonna come up with any story she wants. She knows she does not want to fight me. Of course, she doesn’t want to fight me because I’m getting better. I just beat Paige VanZant. I don’t know what she’s on. She lost mad respect from me. I can’t respect someone who changes their statements. Be real. Be yourself. All her entitlement. If you want that humble pie and a wake-up call, then you got me. If you don’t want it, then we all know why,” Hart said.

Both are intriguing matches. But whichever BKFC decides to hold next, Hart is ready for it.

“We have big plans out here [in my training camp]. And when I get back to the US, I’ll train every day because I’m coming for that title. I’m coming for my redemption. I’m coming for anyone who steps in the ring and challenges me,” Hart boldly declared.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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.

Britain Hart spoils the BKFC debut of Paige VanZant

Tonight in the headliner of BKFC 16, Paige VanZant (8-5 MMA) made her highly anticipated Bare Knuckle debut. Her opponent was veteran, Britain Hart (1-2). These two ladies had some serious bad blood leading up to BKFC 16.

PVZ shocked the world when she signed an exclusive contract with BKFC in 2020 after her UFC contract came to a close. VanZant was always known as a decent striker, however, she was known for her kicks than her punches.

Signing with BKFC was going to give her a new opportunity to display her boxing skills. She would get tested immediately in taking on the veteran, Britain Hart. Hart has three fights in Bare Knuckle, but she also has some professional boxing experience.

In fact, Hart had eleven professional boxing matches before she started with BKFC. When it comes to pure boxing, Hart definitely had the experience advantage over PVZ. The main event of Knucklemania promised to be fireworks.

BKFC 16 Recap

Round 1

The BKFC 16 main event got underway with both ladies circling. Hart was looking for the jab early and VanZant came over the top with a good right hand. Immediately the two ended up in a clinch and Hart went to work with hooks to the body.

After the ref separated the two, Hart continued to look for her jab. Hart ran in with a right hand that just missed. VanZant then pressed forward and landed a couple of clean hooks. In the final ten seconds, Hart pushed forward and landed a big combination. 1-0 Hart in the BKFC main event on my scorecard.

Round 2

The second round opened with VanZant looking much more aggressive. She pushed forward with a jab and she was looking for hooks. However, the BKFC veteran was catching her with straight shots as PVZ was trying to move forward.

Hart pushed forward again but VanZant caught her clean with a left hook. VanZant clinched Hart, but Hart was the one doing damage with body shots. Once the two separated, Hart went back to the jab. Hart was landing the cleaner shots as the bell sounds and it’s 2-0 at BKFC 16 for Hart.

Round 3

The third round kicked off with a jab from Britain Hart. VanZant was looking much more aggressive looking to push forward herself. However, Hart was landing clean counters and backed PVZ up.

A minute into the round and VanZant initiated the clinch again. However, it was Hart again who was getting the better of it. Hart stepped forward with a big three punch combination which forced VanZant to clinch again.

VanZant pushed forward looking to work off her jab, but Hart again landed the cleaner shots. The third round at BKFC 16 came to a close and the punching stats show it’s close, but I have it 3-0 Britain Hart.

Round 4

As the fourth round started, VanZant was feeling the urgency. She pushed forward and landed some clean shots to open the round. VanZant then initiated another clinch, but this time she was throwing some shots.

Hart circled off the clinch and landed a massive uppercut on PVZ. A stiff jab connected from Britain Hart lands and VanZant was circling around the outside. Hart then pushed forward which forced another clinch from PVZ.

The two separated and VanZant was looking to be aggressive. Britain Hart lands a massive right hand that turns the head of PVZ. Arguably the cleanest shot of the night and the round comes to a close. I have the BKFC 16 main event a shutout through four for Britain Hart.

Round 5

Entering the final round at BKFC 16, I think VanZant needed a finish to get the win. Hart opened the round working her jab. VanZant pushed forward but nothing big was landing for her.

Hart then backed up PVZ with a stiff jab. VanZant circled around the ring and then she pushed forward with some big shots. The two ladies clinched and Hart started working some serious body shots.

VanZant then lands a couple of clean shots. PVZ knew she need a finish and was going all out in the final minute. Big shots were landing for PVZ. Hart was starting to get busted up in the final round, however, she stayed right in the pocket.

The ten second bell sounded and these two ladies were swinging for the fences. The bell sounds and I give the final round to PVZ, but I think this is a clear win for Britain Hart, but the punching stats show that it was close.

Britain Hart def. Paige VanZant by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

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

BKFC 16 Preview: Paige VanZant – Britain Hart

Tomorrow night, BKFC will be on display with their sixteenth event titled, Knucklemania. In the main event of the evening, Paige VanZant (8-5 MMA) will be making her highly anticipated debut when she takes on Britain Hart (1-2 BKFC).

VanZant made waves in the combat sports world when she signed an exclusive deal with BKFC in 2020. After PVZ concluded her contract with the UFC, she was one of the hottest free agents on the market. Bellator made a serious run at signing VanZant.

Yet, it was BKFC that was able to sway her away. They made VanZant an offer that she couldn’t refuse. PVZ said this week that her deal with Bare Knuckle is ten times what she was getting paid in the UFC.

It appears that BKFC is going all in with Paige VanZant so it makes sense that her first fight is as a headliner. VanZant has always had pretty decent striking and she’s shown that at times in the UFC. However, she had a nice variety of kicks and in this fight she will only be able to use her hands.

Because of all the hype, there seems to be a lot of picks flowing towards PVZ. Obviously that makes sense, however, I think people are really sleeping on the other half of the BKFC main event. People shouldn’t be sleeping on Britain Hart tomorrow night.

BKFC 16 Prediction

Britain Hart is not just a vet of BKFC, she’s a former professional boxer. Hart has eleven pro boxing matches and she had a record of 4-4-3. She is very experienced and she knows how to throw her hands. All she’s ever done is boxing while PVZ has been in MMA.

With that in mind, I believe she has a real shot tomorrow night at BKFC 16. While watching back tape on VanZant, I believe she’s going to have the power advantage tomorrow. I also believe that she’s the overall better athlete and her explosiveness should help her.

However, you cannot discount the pure boxing skills and experience of Hart. Hart throws some very solid straight punches and if PVZ gets power happy tomorrow, she might eat some shots that come down the middle.

I really believe that we are going to see a close main event at BKFC 16. You know that the Bare Knuckle brass is going to be hoping for a VanZant win, and I think they will get it in the end. However, I think it’s much closer than a lot of the general public thinks it will be.

Prediction: Paige VanZant by Split Decision

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 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.

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