Throughout her Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut earlier this yr, former UFC headliner Paige VanZant confirmed moments of inexperience, which led to a irritating unanimous determination loss to Britain Hart.

VanZant admitted to being hesitant as she was adjusting to the timing of the rounds and looking for her rhythm after having solely fought as soon as in two years main as much as her first bare-knuckle combat. When she lastly grew to become extra snug, she started exhibiting what a force she can be, delivering some heavy pictures — even splitting Hart’s chin within the fifth spherical.

Forward of her second BKFC bout, this time towards with fellow Octagon export and former UFC opponent Rachael Ostovich on July 23 at BKFC 19 in Tampa, FL, VanZant is extra assured, snug, and trying to notch her first victory within the bare-knuckle motion. She talked in regards to the modifications she’s made since her first combat and the way that can translate within the distinction we’ll see in her second bout.


I had plenty of nice choices and once I left the UFC. a part of me thought that I’d 100% be preventing for Bellator. Everybody thought that’s the place I’d find yourself — that’s the place my husband (Austin Vanderford) is, and he’ll be a Bellator champion quickly. Everybody thought we’d combat for a similar group. Then Naked Knuckle got here ahead with a proposal that was utterly wonderful. The concept of doing bare-knuckle boxing simply appeared like the proper match for me. Throughout my whole UFC profession, one in every of my standouts was how powerful I’m.

I felt with naked knuckle, it’s for the hardest of the powerful. Solely the true, gritty and soiled fighters could make it there and I actually wished to check myself in it. I do really feel like if I wish to return to MMA, I’ll at all times have doorways which are open. For proper now, this appeared like too thrilling of a possibility for me to go up. It was the one which received me probably the most passionate the place I awoke daily and felt prefer it’s what I wished to do with my profession proper now. They’ve been a superb group to work with thus far and I’m actually excited and proud of my determination.

There was somewhat little bit of a bodily distinction in going into bare-knuckle boxing. The rounds are shorter [two-minute rounds], and every spherical is a dash versus a marathon. In MMA, there’s three five-minute rounds and you actually must have that lengthy cardio for an extended time frame whereas right here, the rounds are shorter, however the motion is rather more intense and aggressive each single second. It’s important to have that sprint-like cardio. That’s been one of many changes that I’ve needed to make. From a psychological standpoint, I had to enter this with an understanding of I might completely break my palms or get reduce open. I already knew how powerful I used to be due to going via the experiences within the UFC, so I used to be conscious that toughness was one thing I already had.


Actually, what I took away from the primary combat was simply the expertise. I believe within the first three rounds, you could possibly see my hesitation. I used to be simply making an attempt to determine what the combat sport was going to be, what it looks like, and the way rapidly the rounds go by. From the third spherical, you noticed me actually get snug. I believe it took a while for me to get my toes moist. An enormous change that can make the distinction going into this subsequent combat is I do know what to anticipate. I’m not going to have the questions in my head of what’s going to occur or how does this go. I even have that have now.


I’ve made somewhat little bit of a change and I’m working with Pedro Diaz right here in Miami and he’s a straight boxing coach at Mundo Boxing. I really feel like that’s going to be the largest distinction in my combat sport and my hanging. Individuals are actually going to see a giant change from my first combat to this one. After the primary combat, I assumed it was essential to work with a straight boxing coach, and Pedro is a legend in boxing and I’m excited to have him in my nook.

Now Pedro’s received your entire program down for me. I’m now simply straight boxing coaching. It’s extra gritty and extra closely cardio primarily based — I do a ton of operating. I do just about no matter he says. The coaching is totally loopy, and I believe you’ll be capable of see that my physique has modified utterly. I really dropped doing the precise conditioning and simply went straight boxing and no matter else Pedro has me doing. I really feel like my physique has modified in such a optimistic means that you just’ll be capable of see that within the combat. My higher physique has gotten loads stronger by using the instruments and program he’s given me.

A typical day of coaching for me relies on if I’m doing a non-public session with Pedro or if I’m working with your entire workforce. I get up about 8 a.m. and follow is often till 11. I’ve an hour drive to the fitness center daily, which I like as a result of it will get me ready for follow. Usually, I’ll prepare for 2 hours and that comes with all boxing coaching, our cardio and no matter else he has deliberate for the day. Each exercise is totally different, however I belief his program. He has every part written out for me and I by no means know precisely what we’re going to do. I’ll drive residence and have a brief interval to relaxation and get better. Then, I’ll do my night cardio and that’s extra operating and doing no matter I can to get my weight down.


My weight loss plan is about the identical. The load lessons in BKFC are the identical because the MMA weight lessons. I’m working with a meal firm out right here in Miami that has been nice. They supply me with the wholesome meals for my combat camp.

I really don’t get pleasure from consuming earlier than I work out so if I do eat in any respect, I’ll have a banana earlier than follow. I’ll at all times have espresso and the one factor I can’t reduce out of my weight loss plan is my espresso creamer. That’s often earlier than follow. After follow, I’ll have a protein shake for the drive residence after which I’ll have no matter meal is put together for me once I get residence. It’s sometimes extraordinarily lean protein, greens, rice and another carb. My favourite meals are meals for lunch and dinners. I really like Indian meals and I needed to reduce that out in addition to Thai meals. I’m excited for after the combat to have some actually good Indian meals.


I do a ton of restoration now with the brand new coaching. I do plenty of ice baths. We’ll do an ice tub in between periods to try to get my muscle mass to get better as quickly as potential for the subsequent coaching session. I get plenty of massages to ensure I’m not as sore going into sparring days or not as sore popping out of sparring days. I really like the sauna and I do know it’s extraordinarily wholesome for you, and I do know it helps me put together for the load reduce when it will get nearer to the combat, having the ability to sweat and lose as a lot water as potential with out dropping my actual muscle mass. I find it irresistible as a result of it’s very therapeutic and it helps with the soreness additionally.


I believe you’ll see a extra ready boxer. I really feel like I’ll be extra assured and that ought to be the standout. I’m coming in with the expertise of getting one bare-knuckle boxing match already. I’m preventing an opponent who I’ve already overwhelmed in MMA. I submitted her however now I’m coming for the knockout. It does give me a lift of confidence and I believe that’s a very powerful factor in preventing, together with having the psychological edge, and I really feel I’ve that right here. I additionally do really feel I’ll have the energy, pace, and boxing benefit as nicely.

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