Former UFC star Paige VanZant teased fans in a skimpy outfit ahead of her return to the bare-knuckle boxing ring in July.
VanZant, who left the UFC last year, wowed her 350k Twitter followers and captioned the post “Lips of honey, eyes on fire.”
VanZant made her bare-knuckle debut earlier this year, losing to Britain Hart via unanimous decision. Despite the loss, VanZant is eager to continue competing with bare-knuckle promotion BKFC, after signing a four-fight exclusive deal last year reportedly worth over $1m.
In an interview with ESPN, VanZant discussed the decision to switch over to bare-knuckle boxing.
“It was an amazing contract, an amazing opportunity.
"I also feel like it's not a move backwards for me. It's a lateral move to a new opportunity, a new challenge, a brand new sport. I really have sparked a brand new passion for it and especially for striking in general.”
"And, on top of that, I feel like I still have this stigma in MMA that I'm just a pretty face, and what a way to prove to people that's not the way I see myself at all.
“This is a sport where people probably have the highest rate of getting cut open and having long-term scars is definitely something that I'm not even worried about for me. It's just the love of competition and I'm really excited to go out there and show off in such an amazing sport."
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VanZant is set to face Rachael Ostovich, another former UFC competitor, who signed with BKFC earlier this year. Interestingly, VanZant and Ostovich have faced off before back in 2019 at UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs Dillashaw.
Despite Ostovich dominating the first-round with her grappling-heavy approach, early in the second-round, VanZant turned the tables on her opponent and submitted the Hawaiian via arm-bar. The contest was both women’s penultimate bout in the UFC.
VanZant and Ostovich are just two of the many former UFC athletes to sign with BKFC, or other bare-knuckle organisations.
Conor McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov, Chris Leben, Gabriel Gonzaga, Antonio Bigfoot Silva, Hector Lombard and Pearl Gonzalez are some of the notable other signings, and many more are expected to join in the not-so-distant future.
BKFC 19 is a bare-knuckle boxing event currently scheduled to take place on July 23. The event will be headlined by a bare-knuckle rematch between Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich, who will be making her debut in the bare-knuckle boxing ring.
Britain Hart is also expected to compete on the undercard of the event, after defeating VanZant earlier this year via unanimous decision. She will face Jenny Savage, also 1-0 in bare-knuckle boxing.
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