Paige VanZant Set to Make Bare Knuckle Debut in February

VANCOUVER, BC - AUGUST 25: Paige VanZant holds an open workout session for media and fans at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver on August 25, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Former UFC strawweight and flyweight, Paige VanZant is set to make her Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut in February 2021. Having fought out her UFC contract at UFC 251 with a loss to Amanda Ribas, VanZant’s future was murky. The suggestion was that she might go to Bellator due to her husband fighting for the organisation. Despite this, she signed a four-bout contract with BKFC in August.

Paige VanZant – UFC Tenure

We looked into Paige VanZant’s MMA career (as well as her ‘celebrity’ career) in a previous article. Going 5-4 in the UFC, VanZant headlined two events, losing both bouts via rear-naked choke.

Following back to back losses, she got a fight against Rachel Ostovich. Paige VanZant is miles better than Ostovich and this was very much a bout to get VanZant back in the win column. The level of competition that VanZant has faced in comparison to Ostovich is remarkable. The victory she got in this bout led to her fight with Ribas. After being dominated by the Brazillian, VanZant was shown the door.

BKCF Debut

Superbowl weekend, February 2021 will mark the BKFC debut of Paige VanZant. Speaking to MMAFighting about their planned February 5th card, BKFC president, David Feldman stated:
It’s going to be a great event for us. We’re going to do Friday, Feb. 5, Paige VanZant, that will be her debut for us“.

As of yet, we don’t know who Paige VanZant’s opponent will be in February. The chance of her getting a knock over is extremely high. The promotion will try to sell it that her opponent has a real chance, but they won’t risk their big draw picking up a loss in her debut. She has the star power, she has the name and has the ‘looks’. They won’t risk a slip-up in her debut.

If she is able to pick up a few wins in Bare-knuckle, the fight to make would be against Bec Rawlings. The two faced off in the UFC, with VanZant scoring a beautiful switch-kick knockout. Rawlings is the current Police Gazette Bare-Knuckle Champion as well as the World Boxing Foundation Latin American Champion.

Bec Rawlings BKFC
BILOXI, MS – AUGUST 25: Bec Rawlings celebrates after defeating Britain Hart during the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 2: A New Era at Mississippi Coast Coliseum on August 25, 2018 in Biloxi, Mississippi. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Undefeated at 3-0 in bare-knuckle, Rawlings describes herself as the ‘bare-knuckle queen’ and a fight between her and Vanzant would certainly sell. The bout would certainly get the wider viewers in because many MMA fans will recognise both names and be more invested in the bout. It would also provide a legitimate test for VanZant, who we don’t assume will be tested too much in her early BKFC career.

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