Luke Rockhold had a fast start but a disappointing ending in his bare-knuckle debut at BKFC 41.
The former UFC middleweight champion was unable to continue after he paused the action in the second round in his fight with Mike Perry as he motioned to referee Dan Miragliotta that something was wrong with his mouth. At first it appeared that perhaps Rockhold may have suffered a broken jaw from the damage inflicted by Perry as Miragliotta took one look at him before stopping the contest.
It wasn’t until after the event was over that BKFC president David Feldman revealed what led to the stoppage with Rockhold absorbing some serious damage to his mouth from the fight with Perry.
“Luke Rockhold, some of his teeth got cracked,” Feldman explained at the BKFC 41 post-fight press conference. “So that’s why he wasn’t able to continue.
“His teeth got messed up pretty good. What a great start to that fight. Great fight.”
Prior to the stoppage, Rockhold was making a good account for himself as he went toe-to-toe with a bare-knuckle fighting veteran in Perry as they engaged in several heavy exchanges throughout the opening round. Rockhold actually landed the first big punch in the fight when he wobbled Perry with a straight punch that had the Denver crowd on its feet.
Perry quickly fired back as he continuously stepped into the pocket before unloading punches in succession while blasting away at Rockhold’s body and then going back up top to the head. By the end of the first round, Rockhold had blood pouring down his face and now it seems clear that it was likely from the damage he absorbed to his mouth.
The best shots landed in the second round actually came with Perry focusing on the body as he continued to punish Rockhold’s ribs every time he closed the distance. It was after one of those furious exchanges that Rockhold called the referee over to show him what happened to his mouth, which then led to the fight being stopped.
The win moved Perry to 3-0 in bare-knuckle competition while Rockhold suffers a defeat in his BKFC debut with a trip to the dentist likely scheduled in the very near future.