BKFC 19: Paige VanZant says being the ‘toughest of the tough’ made BKFC a perfect fit

paige vanzant
Credit: BFKC

Despite an unsuccessful February debut in bare-knuckle boxing, mixed martial arts veteran Paige VanZant feels she was “meant” for her new sport.

Paige VanZant feels she was ‘meant’ for BKFC

VanZant, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight returns to action tonight at BKFC 19. Before headlining her second event for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, the 27-year-old spoke to ESPN about why switching to gloveless boxing was a perfect fit for her and a chance to show why she’s one of the toughest combat athletes out there.

“The UFC just kind of fell into my lap. I was fighting and more just doing it for fun. I felt like it was just something I was passionate about. When I became a free agent, I had a lot of offers come my way and this was one [from BKFC] I never actually thought of. I never thought I’d be a professional bare-knuckle boxer. But when they called me I was like, ‘oh my gosh, that seems perfect for me,'” VanZant told ESPN.

“I feel like I’m meant for this. Just because, [during] my entire UFC career, everyone always could say how tough I was and that’s something that not a lot of people have with them in their heart. It’s just like, you’re born with this toughness. I now I feel like this sport is perfect for me because I feel like I’m one of the toughest of the tough, and now I get to go show it off.”

VanZant expects a completely different fight in BKFC rematch with Ostovich

VanZant’s second bare-knuckle boxing opponent will be a familiar one in fellow UFC veteran Rachel Ostovich. The bout is a rematch of sorts from their UFC on ESPN+ 1 scrap in January 2019. That fight ended when “12 Gauge” submitting Ostovich by armbar in the second round. That move will not be an option tonight in Tampa, Florida. As VanZant explains it, the rematch will be completely different from the original because the tactics used in their first go-around are illegal techniques in this divergent sport they now compete in.

“I went back and rewatched the fight to kind of study the film, and I [realized], we threw two punches at each other,” VanZant said with a laugh. “I think I just tried to kick her the whole time, and she tried to take me down the whole time. I won’t be kicking her, she won’t be taking me down. This one is all boxing. It’s a straight boxing match with no gloves on, so I feel almost like it’s a brand new opponent.”

BKFC 19 starts at 8 pm ET with preliminary action. The main card follows at 11 pm ET. The event is will air on the promotions BKTV app and on FITE TV.

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