Paige VanZant is getting ready for her second bout in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship as she faces Rachael Ostovich in the main event of BFKC 19. But despite coming up short in her BFKC debut earlier this year, VanZant is enjoying her time with the promotion led by founder David Feldman. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, VanZant discussed the biggest difference between bare-knuckle fighting and mixed martial arts.
"The big difference for me was just being completely focused on one style of fighting," VanZant told PopCulture. "I feel like in boxing and bare-knuckle boxing, it's really just one the element to focus on. Whereas MMA is mixed martial arts, you have to work on wrestling, jujitsu, kickboxing, Muay Thai, whatever your striking regimen is. And in here, it's almost like you have to be great at one thing and not just good at a lot of things. I felt like it was so important for me making that transition to find a super, super good boxing coach. And that's what I have for this fight in my corner is a straight boxing coach, so I could really just focus on the one element and become great at just boxing."
VanZant joined BKFC last year after her time in UFC came to an end. In her BKFC debut, VanZant took on Britan Hart and lost by unanimous decision. She explained what she learned from the fight and the things to take away from the loss. "I truly felt like the first two rounds were a learning curve where I was trying to figure out the whole bare-knuckle thing, trying to figure out what I was doing," VanZant stated.
"By the third round, you see me slowly pick it up. And then fourth and fifth, I feel like I completely dominated the fourth and fifth rounds," she continued. "Unfortunately, it's five rounds, and she got me on the first three. So I felt great. If it was one more round, I feel like I would have finished her. So I feel like I just have the confidence to know that I know what to expect. I know that I can be extremely dominant and confident during the fight and just that experience out of the way."
As for her upcoming bout against Ostovich, VanZant feels she has the end over her opponent since she had already defeated her in UFC in January 2019, and Ostovich is competing in her first professional bare-knuckle fight. "I feel like once you have that mental edge over somebody, meeting them before, I feel like I'm going into this, I definitely, one, have the win over her in the UFC, but then, two, I've actually had experience in Bare Knuckle Boxing where she hasn't yet," VanZant explained. "And I feel like the advantage truly is just having the experience in this fight."