Melanie Shah is built different.
Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) touched down in Salem, Va., for BKFC 51 this past weekend (Sept. 29, 2023). The promotion’s Strawweight title was on the line in the event’s headliner, featuring division champion, Britain Hart, defending opposite the previously undefeated (2-0) Shah. Unfortunately for Shah, she suffered a punishing five-round beating from the title holder, resulting in a unanimous decision (and tooth) loss (watch highlights).
Despite the facial rearrangements Hart provided her with on the night, Shah had no regrets.
“I think after the first round, I realized that she was a lot tougher than I was expecting,” Shah told Bareknucklenewstv in the embedded video above. “Although I expected her to be tough, I just expected her to show a bit more tiredness. It didn’t go the way I wanted, but I was still happy that I went all the five rounds.
“Even if I don’t look like it, I enjoyed the whole process,” she continued. “I enjoyed being in the ring and challenging myself. If I could fight Brit again, I think what I’d do is — although I fought the way I like to fight — I’d have backed off a little bit more than maybe I should have. I’d probably try to do other things I wouldn’t normally do.”
The 2-1 Shah had an uphill battle ahead of her when matched with Hart. The reigning champion has come into her own as a bare-knuckle boxer, winning eight of her last nine matches (8-3 overall). Hart has earned notable wins on her run over the likes of former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweights, Paige VanZant, Bec Rawlings, and Pearl Gonzalez.
Hart already has her next match lined up as she’ll head to Thailand to face Chisakan Ariphipat on Nov. 4, 2023. Meanwhile, Shah will likely take a decent amount of time to let herself heal up before getting back into action.
Well, we sure hope so, anyway.
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