Rachel Ostovich waited two and a half years to avenge her loss to Paige VanZant in the UFC.
But the rematch was devoid of gloves and they traded an octagon for a ring when Ostovich defeated VanZant by unanimous decision in the main event of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 19 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida on Friday.
It was a wild night for BKFC, one where social media influencers donned boxing gloves, a fan attacked a rapper after hitting a TikTokker, and a carnival of the absurd. But you can’t say it’s not entertaining. And that included a main event between two former UFC fighters that was highly anticipated and lived up to expectations.
VanZant and Ostovich first met in 2019, and VanZant subdued his opponent in the second round with one arm. VanZant signed with BKFC after fighting for his contract and lost his debut fight earlier this year. As for Ostovich, she was released from the UFC after a three-game losing streak. Instead of signing a deal with another MMA promotion, Ostovich followed VanZant to BKFC and signed to be VanZant’s second opponent.
Although both women didn’t want to call it a rematch due to the BKFC rules being completely different, it was impossible to ignore it considering their history. And Ostovich could have a future at BKFC with a stellar performance against his foe.
It may have been Ostovich’s first bare-knuckle fight, but she was clearly up to the task and VanZant may be reconsidering her bare-knuckle career now that she has suffered a second loss in a row.
It was clear from the first seconds that Ostovich was the more powerful of the two fighters as she uncorked a hard right hand to start. VanZant tried to close the distance and the two got into some infighting, but Ostovich had the upper hand whenever there was separation, as his right hand landed almost at will.
The second assault was fought from a distance. VanZant got back into business, but still struggled to avoid Ostovich’s right hand man. As the fight progressed, Ostovich found comfort in countering VanZant’s advances and occasionally pushed for action to not allow VanZant to find any consolation.
The third round was relatively close until Ostovich landed a tough two-punch combination when he came in. However, VanZant’s activity probably gave him the opportunity. It looked like VanZant was getting into a swing with his jab and bloodied Ostovich’s nose with a stiff punch in the fourth, but once again, Ostovich hit VanZant with a right counter and hurt her. It was clear that VanZant was shocked and she did her best to finish it off, but Ostovich did not refuse.
After the final round was about the same, the final bell rang and Ostovich raised his hands because he knew he had avenged his loss. Scores were 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47. You may now have a second career as a bare-knuckle fighter.
VanZant was not happy with the decision and left the ring. Where she ends up, nobody knows.