This is the BKFC Knucklemania live blog for Paige VanZant vs. Britain Hart, the main event on Friday’s main card at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida.
This is a featherweight headliner which features the anticipated BKFC debut of Paige VanZant. VanZant, who was 8-5 in her UFC career, chose Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship over several other promotions when she was a free agent recently.
Hart, who is 1-2 in her Bare Knuckle Fight Championship fight career, is 4-4-3 in her pro boxing career. She latest competed against Randine Elkholm at BKFC 14, winning via fourth-round TKO (1:21). After the victory, Hart called out VanZant to set up tonight’s meeting.
The two headliners mixed it up at weigh-ins with VanZant grabbing Hart’s throat and Hart unleashing an expletive-laden verbal barrage at the UFC veteran.
Check out the Paige VanZant vs. Britain Hart live blog below.
Round 1: Earlier in the evening, Britain Hart cut a bit of a backstage promo on VanZant as she has certainly been positioned as the bare knuckle babyface in the build. Hart enters the ring with a lot of swagger, while VanZant is extremely focused and intense for her first BKFC walkout.
Both women circle as the opening bell sounds and VanZant lands a right hand before they clinch up and trade flurries. The referee separates and they continue more of a feeling out process. Hart charges in with a right hook that grazes VanZant. Big combination from the former UFC fighter. Final 30 seconds and VanZant is moving very well and making Hart miss. Hart steps in and lands a nice combination as they exchange until the bell sounds.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 for VanZant
Round 2: Both ladies ready to go to kick off the second round. VanZant lands a clean right hand to begin things and Hart answers with a combination. They meet in the pocket and exchange, VanZant gets the better with a hard left hand. They clinch up and VanZant is eating a lot of body shots from Hart. The clinch continues for a few more seconds before the referee separates. VanZant trying to move forward and Hart lands a right hand. Final 10 seconds and Hart connects with a counter left hand. VanZant moving backwards as the bell rings.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 for Hart, 19-19 overall.
Round 3: They get ready for the third round knowing they’ve each taken hard shots. VanZant comes out much more aggressive in the round and they tie up momentarily. Left counter from Hart, VanZant lands a left jab. Right hand from VanZant while Hart comes up short. They clinch up again and Hart lands a clean uppercut. They separate and Hart lands a right hand, VanZant answers before they exchange in the clinch. VanZant has a mouse under her left eye and eats an overhand right from Hart before the bell rings.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 for Hart, 29-28 Hart overall.
Round 4: VanZant needs to figure out a way to be effective inside. She comes out pushing an aggressive pace and lands a good jab inside. They tie up and Hart lands a right hand. VanZant comes up short with a punch and Hart lands a right uppercut. Hart is bleeding from the nose now as VanZant continues lateral movement. Right hand from VanZant as they clinch up before being separated. VanZant eats a right hand as she continues to have trouble landing shots. Hart lands a right hand as the round ends.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 for Hart, 39-37 for Hart overall.
Round 5: Hart is pumping up the crowd while VanZant likely needs a finish to win here. VanZant lands a left hand early, counter right from Hart. Charging left hand from VanZant, followed by a right hand. Dirty boxing from both ladies with Hart getting the advantage. VanZant lands a hard right hand and an uppercut. Hart is breathing heavy and VanZant is landing big shots. Hart is fighting back but VanZant is having the best round of the fight. Left hand from Hart, VanZant lands a hard right hand. They tie up and exchange shots. VanZant lands a right hand as the bell sounds. Close fight, but Hart should get the win here. We’ll see what the judges say.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 for VanZant, 48-47 for Hart overall.
OFFICIAL DECISION: Britain Hart def. Paige VanZant via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)