BKFC to hold “Knucklemania” event on Super Bowl weekend including Paige VanZant and Chris Leben

Paige VanZant, BKFC
Image via @paigevanzant on Instagram (photographer not listed)

BKFC will look to make a real statement on Super Bowl weekend when they host “Knucklemania,” featuring Paige VanZant and Chris Leben.

Leben had already teased the idea of fighting next month, but when it comes to VanZant, there has been a great deal of speculation over when and where she would make her official debut for BKFC.

We now have some answers and, as reported by MMA Junkie, VanZant and Leben will be amongst the fighters who will be stepping into the ring two days before the big game.

“Since we signed Paige Van Zant in August it’s been the talk of the combat sports world,” BKFC president David Feldman said in a statement to MMA Junkie. “We’re very excited to announce her BKFC debut against a very tough fighter, Britain Hart, headlining our biggest event of the year, ‘Knucklemania,’ on February 5 in Lakeland, two nights before the Super Bowl in nearby Tampa.”

While the aforementioned Leben will also be returning to action against Quentin Henry, the big story here is the debut of VanZant. During a recent interview, the former UFC star made it clear that the decision to head into the world of bare knuckle was driven by a passion to compete.

“It wasn’t strictly financial for me,” Paige VanZant shared on Unlocking the Cage, discussing her move to BKFC. “I actually had three or four big players when it came to negotiating contracts. So I had four awesome offers to look at. I think everyone kind of expected me to go to Bellator cause that’s where my husband [Austin Vanderford] fights. And of course, that aspect did intrigue me, I’d love to fight for the same organization as him. It makes sense career-wise, I guess. But, the passion in me wanted to go to bare-knuckle.

“I feel like looking at my fight career, yeah I have an equal amount of submission finishes, knockouts, and like a decision,” the new BKFC fighter added. “So for me, it was more about when you look at my whole fight career, the one thing that stands out above anything is how tough I am and I carried that through every single fight and I think the people who really make it in bare-knuckle boxing are the people who are tough. It’s a sport for only the toughest of the tough. And that’s where I want to show my worth and my value. At the same time, I get to utilize and sharpen what I feel is one of my best weapons and that’s my striking.

“I may go back to MMA, we don’t know,” VanZant finished. “But right now I’m truly passionate about this bare-knuckle boxing and I’m excited to see where it takes me.”

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