KnuckleMania put on a show for fight fans around the world.
If you thought bare-knuckle boxing was savage and a place for fighters who could not make it, you were silenced last night. The fight card was filled with pure technical performances from professional strikers. We saw game plans that worked and game plans that did not. However, we did not see wild striking with no skill. Unless you watched Rough and Rowdy.
Hart Defeats VanZant
The main event was Paige VanZant versus Britain Hart. VanZant seemed to be a better striker than Hart from distance. Although, it was the technique of Hart’s dirty boxing that propelled her to come away with the unanimous decision. VanZant got better as the fight went on and I expect her to come back to the squared circle a better boxer in her future fights.
Looks like I missed a profound night of bare knuckle boxing last night as Paige Van Zant took a decision loss to Britain Hart…pic.twitter.com/bNRvXsdIJt
— Peter Carroll (@PetesyCarroll) February 6, 2021
Nguyen Defeats Bedford
The co-main event of KnuckleMania was the most technical fight of the night. Dat Nguyen defeated Johnny Bedford by unanimous decision but this fight was a close one. Bedford was 5-0 in the BNFC squared circle before losing his Lightweight Championship to Nguyen. This fight was a statement to the community that questions bare-knuckle as a skilled event. This fight was high-level and a thriller for fight fans. I hope BNFC decides to run this one back, if not immediately, then in the near future.
Leben Retires a Winner
Combat sports also said goodbye to a pioneer/legend Chris Leben. Leben brought a lot of eyes to the sport and created a movement in the combat sports world. His iconic red hair-dye and tattoos created an era in MMA. Chris signed off his career with a legendary quote, “If I had some gloves on, I would leave them in the ring. But we don’t use those anymore.”
Respect to Chris Leben. Quite the journey. pic.twitter.com/dEdawfTLPK
— MS (@UFC_Obsessed) February 6, 2021
This fight summed up Leben’s career. He hit Quentin Henry early and Henry went down holding his eye. The officials reviewed the strike and the replay showed it was a legal punch as his knuckle was what hit Henry’s eye. Shortly after the fight resumed Leben won by knockout. Leben battled adversity in the ring like he did his entire life. He has overcome tough losing streaks and battles with drugs and alcohol. Ultimately, Leben always perseveres and comes out on top because he is the inspiration that MMA needed to get where the sport is today.
For a full breakdown of all the KnuckleMania fights watch or listen to the Tarps Off MMA podcast below.
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