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Paige VanZant Preparing for a ‘Knockout’ Performance at BKFC 19


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 choice 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 comfy, she started exhibiting what a force she can be, delivering some heavy photographs — 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, comfy, 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 may translate within the distinction we’ll see in her second bout.


I had a variety of nice choices and after I left the UFC. a part of me thought that I might 100% be combating for Bellator. Everybody thought that’s the place I might 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 fully wonderful. The concept of doing bare-knuckle boxing simply appeared like the right match for me. Throughout my whole UFC profession, one in every of my standouts was how robust I’m.

I felt with naked knuckle, it’s for the hardest of the robust. Solely the true, gritty and soiled fighters could make it there and I actually needed to check myself in it. I do really feel like if I need to return to MMA, I’ll at all times have doorways which might be open. For proper now, this appeared like too thrilling of a possibility for me to cross up. It was the one which obtained me probably the most passionate the place I awakened every single day and felt prefer it’s what I needed to do with my profession proper now. They’ve been a superb group to work with to this point and I’m actually excited and pleased with my choice.

There was a bit of 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 period whereas right here, the rounds are shorter, however the motion is rather more intense and aggressive each single second. It’s a must 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 may completely break my arms or get reduce open. I already knew how robust I used to be due to going by the experiences within the UFC, so I used to be conscious that toughness was one thing I already had.


Truthfully, what I took away from the primary combat was simply the expertise. I feel within the first three rounds, you would see my hesitation. I used to be simply attempting to determine what the combat recreation was going to be, what it seems like, and the way shortly the rounds go by. From the third spherical, you noticed me actually get comfy. I feel it took a while for me to get my ft moist. A giant change that may 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 a bit of 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 recreation and my hanging. Persons are actually going to see a giant change from my first combat to this one. After the primary combat, I believed it was necessary 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 obtained all the program down for me. I’m now simply straight boxing coaching. It’s extra gritty and extra closely cardio based mostly — I do a ton of working. I do just about no matter he says. The coaching is totally loopy, and I feel you’ll have the ability to see that my physique has modified fully. 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 constructive manner that you just’ll have the ability to see that within the combat. My higher physique has gotten lots 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 personal session with Pedro or if I’m working with all the group. I get up about 8 a.m. and observe is often till 11. I’ve an hour drive to the gymnasium every single day, which I like as a result of it will get me ready for observe. Usually, I’ll practice 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 completely different, however I belief his program. He has every little thing written out for me and I by no means know precisely what we’re going to do. I’ll drive dwelling and have a brief interval to relaxation and recuperate. Then, I’ll do my night cardio and that’s extra working and doing no matter I can to get my weight down.


My food regimen 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 take pleasure in consuming earlier than I work out so if I do eat in any respect, I’ll have a banana earlier than observe. I’ll at all times have espresso and the one factor I can’t reduce out of my food regimen is my espresso creamer. That’s often earlier than observe. After observe, I’ll have a protein shake for the drive dwelling after which I’ll have no matter meal is put together for me after I get dwelling. It’s sometimes extraordinarily lean protein, greens, rice and another carb. My favourite meals are meals for lunch and dinners. I 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 a variety of ice baths. We’ll do an ice bathtub in between classes to attempt to get my muscular tissues to recuperate as quickly as doable for the following coaching session. I get a variety of massages to verify I’m not as sore going into sparring days or not as sore popping out of sparring days. I 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 doable with out shedding my actual muscle mass. I find it irresistible as a result of it’s very therapeutic and it helps with the soreness additionally.


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

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