Things did not go as planned for Paige VanZant last night (Fri., Feb. 5, 2021) at BKFC 16: “KnuckleMania” live on FITE.tv PPV from RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Fla., as the former UFC star lost to main event counterpart Britain Hart via unanimous decision (highlights HERE).
While this was VanZant’s bare knuckle debut and she was expected to experience a bit of a learning curve her performance certainly didn’t match the hype that surrounded the fight. As one of the most recognizable names in women’s MMA today “12 Gauge” was hoping to make a huge splash in her Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) debut and put the fairly new promotion on the map.
Unfortunately, Hart was the better fighter Friday night and outlasted VanZant over the course of five somewhat entertaining rounds. VanZant took to Instagram after her loss to show off her battle wounds and issue multiple statements.
“Humble in victory. Humble in defeat.”
The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear our defeat without losing heart. Last night I told my husband I didn’t want to fight any more. But as soon as the words left my lips I knew that wasn’t true. I’m a fighter. This is what I live for. Losers quit when they fail, winners fail until they succeed. That fight last night was a good learning experience for me. The timing and distance took a little bit to figure out. But I felt my last round was my best round and I’m going to build off of that! I’m thankful to fight for the best team in the world and we are going to go back and fix our mistakes. Thank you to Britain for competing last night and congrats on victory! I’m also confident we will cross paths again.
VanZant, 26, just signed with BKFC back in August so she will have plenty of time to heal up and give bare knuckle boxing another try. The former UFC fighter was never really known for having incredible striking, but some were expecting her to handle Hart in her debut based on combat sports experience alone. Just goes to show that anything is possible and no matchup should be judged by its pre-fight buildup.
Maybe this loss pushes VanZant into a WWE career earlier than she expected.
For complete BKFC 16 ‘KnuckleMania’ results and coverage click here.