Isaac Vallie-Flagg eager for more fights, bigger opportunities in BKFC ring

Isaac Vallie-Flagg
Photograph by Phil Lambert (@vital277) for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship

When Isaac Vallie-Flagg walloped his fellow UFC veteran — and former roommate — Melvin Guillard to a stoppage win at BKFC 7 in August, he improved to 3-0 as a bare knuckle fighter.

To long-time fans of MMA or boxing, that record might not seem like much, but in a sport as new as North American bare knuckle fighting, it’s about as impressive as it gets. In the brief period that bare knuckle fighting has been legal on this side of the world, very few people have had as much success as Vallie-Flagg.

And he’s keen to keep the momentum going.

Vallie-Flagg’s initial hope was to fight at last weekend’s BKFC 9 card in Biloxi, Mississippi. Unfortunately, as anybody who watched the card surely noticed, things didn’t work out the way he planned.

Although he’s currently ready to fight, BKFC has told him he’ll likely have to wait until February for his next bout.

He’d certainly like to fight more often — even if it meant reverting back to MMA — but he’s committed himself to bare knuckle fighting and also feels some loyalty to BKFC.

“They want me to fight in February, so that’s what I’m shooting for,” Vallie-Flagg told BJPENN.com on Tuesday. “I could take an MMA fight [in the meantime], but my main focus has been on boxing. I’ve done a bit of ground work, but my main focus lately has been on my boxing, and I’d like to stick with that as much as I can.

“I’m enjoying the ride with the bare knuckle stuff,” he added. “BKFC is getting a lot of good exposure, and [BKFC President] David [Feldman] is putting on a lot of good cards. I also believe in loyalty — I’d like to stay as loyal as I can to them.”

At present, it’s not clear who Vallie-Flagg will fight in his February return to the BKFC ring. A fight with fellow UFC veteran Mac Danzig was briefly on the table, but that possibility has since fizzled out, which means he’s once again hunting for a willing dance partner.

“It doesn’t sound like he signed with the organization,” Vallie-Flagg said of the Danzig matchup.

While it doesn’t look like Danzig will join the BKFC family, the rising bare knuckle promotion has signed a host of notable free agents lately, such as Gabriel Gonzaga and Hector Lombard. Unfortunately, very few of the promotion’s recent signings are Vallie-Flagg’s size.

It’s not that the promotion is averse to the lower weight classes, either. There’s been plenty of action in its 135-pound lightweight division, which is currently ruled by former UFC fighter Johnny Bedford.

Vallie-Flagg is hoping the promotion will start signing new 155-pound and 165-pound fighters in the near future.

“They’re signing some bigger guys like Lombard,” he said. “And why not sign Lombard? He’s a hell of a competitor. He’s a power puncher. He’d be fun to watch against anybody.

“But I don’t know what’s going on at ’55 and ’65,” Vallie-Flagg added. “That’s the average male person in this country. There’s a lot of talented guys that they could be signing — boxers, MMA fighters, whoever. There’s a lot of guys looking for fights.”

While Vallie-Flagg is hopeful BKFC will start signing more fighters his size, he does have some interesting options among the fighters currently on the promotion’s roster, such as UFC veterans Jason Knight, Artem Lobov, and Jim Alers. All three men are all a bit smaller than he is, but he’d love the opportunity to fight any of the above.

“I’ve offered to fight Alers, I’ve offered to fight Knight, I’ve offered to fight Artem… I’ll fight anybody,” he said. “Alers fights at ’55, and I’d love to fight the dude. No disrespect I just like to fight.

“Julian Lane wanted to fight me,” Vallie-Flagg continued. “I hate to call out everybody I can, but I’d fight anybody, and Julian Lane would be a fun one. I would let Julian bang, bro.”

It’s not just that Vallie-Flagg wants to share the ring with this kind of big-name opposition. He also feels he’s earned the chance. With an impressive 3-0 bare knuckle record, and a big win over Guillard in the rear-view, it’s time for another step up.

“Melvin [Guillard] is one of the more experienced fighters and at a point was top-15 or top-10 guy in the UFC,” he added. “He’s a good fighter. So after getting through that test I kind of feel like I’m ready for anybody.

“Since I’ve been out of the UFC, the only loss I’ve had is an illegal knee that somebody was playing a BS game with, but all my wins have been stoppages since I got out of the UFC — including the bare knuckle stuff,” he added. “I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to push that.”

At this stage, Isaac Vallie-Flagg is simply eager to get back into the BKFC ring and continue to build on his impressive run in this fresh and brutal sport. He’s confident that if he’s given the big opportunities he desires, he’ll produce big wins — even if he occasionally finds himself outmatched on a technical level.

“I love fighting for BKFC, it’s a great place for a guy like me,” he said. “If I’m not better than you, I’m tougher than you, and BKFC has provided a great home for me to show that.

“I can’t wait to get back in there as soon as possible.”

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/19/2019.