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MMA notables dominate pound-for-pound list in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship's inaugural rankings

Familiar names such as Luis Palomino, Thiago Alves and Johnny Bedford featured in initial BKFC pound-for-pound list.
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Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, the upstart promotion that has invested in a renaissance of bare-knuckle boxing, today released the promotion's inaugural rankings, and a host of notable mixed martial arts veterans dominated the initial pound-for-pound tally.

Heading the list is reigning BKFC lightweight champion Luis Palomino (6-0), who competed 43 time in MMA before turning to a striking-only ruleset. A Peruvian native, Palomino was featured on the inaugural Bellator MMA card and had a stint with Russia's Absolute Championship Akhmat but is perhaps best known for a pair of epic battles with current UFC lightweight title contender Justin Gaethje when the pair were both competing for World Series of Fighting.

Palomino claimed the BKFC lightweight title with a July 2020 win over UFC and Strikeforce veteran Isaac Vallie-Flagg and has since registered four defenses of his title, the most recent of which came at February's "BKFC: KnuckleMania II."

Additional MMA notables on the pound-for-pound list include former UFC welterweight title challenger and current BKFC middleweight champion Thiago Alves (2-0), who debuted at No. 4, as well as six-time UFC veteran and reigning BKFC bantamweight champion Johnny Bedford (6-1), who rounded out the list at No. 5.

Former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard is also a current BKFC champion, reigning over the cruiserweight class, though he did not appear in the initial pound-for-pound list.

"We're very excited to have this rankings system in place," BKFC president Dave Feldman stated. "We believe this will truly evolve as we move forward with our rapidly growing schedule which will allow for more fighters to garner votes."

The Philadelphia-based BKFC debuted in 2018, capitalizing on the revitalization of a combat sport that was initially popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. The promotion has thus far promoted 25 events across the Unites State, including Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi and Montana.

The organization has proven a popular landing spot for MMA veterans seeking a new challenge in their career, with names such as Alan Belcher, Joey Beltran, Chad Mendes, Rachael Ostovich, Mike Richman, Joe Riggs, Dave Rickels and Paige VanZant, among others, currently on the promotion's roster.

The initial BKFC rankings were revealed Thursday. The votes are compiled from "journalists from across the combat sports media and represent the opinions of a variety of professionals following the rapidly evolving sport," according to the promotion. MMA Underground is a participant in the panel. The rankings are scheduled to be updated monthly.

The initial BKFC pound-for-pound list includes:

  1. Luis Palomino (6-0)
  2. Lorenzo Hunt (6-1)

  3. Arnold Adams (6-1)

  4. Thiago Alves (2-0)

  5. Johnny Bedford (6-1)

This story first published at SI.com/MMA.