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BKFC KnuckleMania II will feature Chad Mendes’ debut, Britain Beltran fighting for vacant women’s title

BKFC/Phil Lambert

BKFC KnuckleMania II has been confirmed for Feb. 19 from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., with Mike Perry vs. Julian Lane in the main event along with two title fights and the debut of former UFC title contender Chad Mendes.

BKFC president Dave Feldman confirmed plans for the show when speaking to MMA Fighting on Wednesday.

Perry vs. Lane will serve as the headliner for the card after they got into a brawl in the crowd at a recent BKFC event in Tampa, Fla. The fight will serve as Perry’s debut for the promotion after he inked a deal to cross over to bare-knuckle fighting after exiting the UFC.

“KnuckleMania’s going to be tremendous, Feb. 19, Hollywood, [Fla.] again,” Feldman told MMA Fighting. “Last time we were there, I don’t know if anyone knows this, there wasn’t more people there but we sold more tickets than any combat sport in history at the Hard Rock Hollywood Casino. We sold more tickets than anyone ever sold there, and we’re in pretty good company there with all the major boxing and MMA organizations.

“So that was good news for us, and we’re back there February 19 for KnuckleMania II with Mike Perry vs. Julian Lane. Luis Palomino will defend his title against Martin ‘Smash’ Brown and Chad Mendes will be on the card, we’ll drop that announcement hopefully tomorrow. Two world championship fights, two marquee names moving over from UFC to bare-knuckle, so it’s going to be a great, great night.”

Mendes will be making his long awaited debut after he decided to come out of retirement in order to sign a deal with BKFC. A mainstay in the featherweight division in both the UFC and WEC, Mendes has faced a laundry list of top opponents over the years but initially called it a career following a loss in a Fight of the Night performance against future champion Alexander Volkanovski in 2018.

Now Mendes will return to the ring with his BKFC debut booked for February. An opponent for him should be named in the coming days.

With Luis Palomino defending his lightweight title against Martin Brown, Feldman also announced that a new BKFC women’s champion would be crowned at KnuckleMania II.

After initially planning on a tournament in the women’s division, Feldman says the promotion ultimately decided just to put the championship up for grabs on Feb. 19.

“Britain [Beltran] has a championship fight,” Feldman confirmed. “I’m not going to do the tournament, I’m actually just going to do the BKFC women’s championship fight.

“We’re going to see what she has in this fight. We’re going to see what Brit’s made out of. It’s going to be a big test for her, and if she gets through this test, I think she’s a superstar for bare-knuckle fighting. Not a star but a superstar. She’s got a big test here.”

Beltran had already become one of the faces of the organization after she defeated former UFC star Paige VanZant in her first fight in bare-knuckle competition.

Following that win, Beltran went onto defeat UFC veteran Pearl Gonzalez and Jenny Savage in back-to-back fights, which have now put her into position to battle for BKFC gold in February. Feldman added that Beltran’s opponent hasn’t been finalized yet, but that announcement could come at any time.

While the final card is still coming together, Feldman also confirmed that former UFC fighter Brian Foster would also be making an appearance at the BKFC KnuckleMania II show in February with his opponent also still to be determined.

Overall, Feldman expects the show to go down as the biggest of the year for BKFC as the promotion kicks off ambitious plans for 2022.

“This is the biggest card in bare-knuckle fighting history,” Feldman promised.