Luke Rockhold will only throw hands with Mike Perry at BKFC 41, but the former UFC middleweight champion returned to his MMA roots – if only for a moment – after a staredown on Thursday.
Prior to their 185-pound main event, Rockhold and Perry faced off against each other following the pre-fight press conference. While things got a little chippy as the fighters jockeyed for position during the staredown, nothing spun out of control.
Perry even offered to let Rockhold hold his “platinum” title he wore throughout the press conference.
Once the faceoff was finished, Perry turned to walk away and Rockhold quickly grabbed him in a rear-naked choke — all in good fun — before letting go as he smiled at the two-time BKFC veteran.
Your #BKFC41 headliner right here!— FITE (@FiteTV) April 27, 2023
Mike Perry and Luke Rockhold stare each other down, and Perry offers to let Luke Rockhold take a photo with the belt. pic.twitter.com/O63L3cfv4E
While Perry has two wins during his bare-knuckle career including a victory over Bellator star Michael “Venom” Page, this will be Rockhold’s first foray into the sport after securing his release from the UFC.
Both fighters have promised a knockout with Rockhold touting his size and power advantage while Perry leaning on durability and experience.
In the co-main event, former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez also makes his bare-knuckle fighting debut against Chad Mendes, who currently sports a 1-0 record in BKFC.
Two of the most exciting fighters in MMA will knuckle up in the #BKFC41 co-main. pic.twitter.com/2uJOf2bGXr— FITE (@FiteTV) April 27, 2023
Perhaps the most tense faceoff came between BKFC flyweight champion Christine Ferea and UFC and Bellator veteran Bec Rawlings. While Rawlings was stoic during the staredown, Ferea kept shouting in her face until the fighters were eventually separated.
Bec Rawlings and Christine Ferea face off at the presser. #BKFC41 pic.twitter.com/ypARW52QDr— FITE (@FiteTV) April 27, 2023
There will be one final faceoff on Friday during the official weigh-ins with BKFC 41 scheduled for Saturday night with the main card kicking off at 9 p.m. ET from Colorado.