Paige VanZant
Paige VanZant Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Paige Van Zant, the former UFC star, model and celebrity chef, will make her highly anticipated debut in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships (BKFC) on Super Bowl weekend in February.

‘Knucklemania’ takes place on February 5 at RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida and is headlined by a bout between VanZant and former pro boxer Britain Hart.

The card also features a ‘special attraction fight’ with longtime UFC star Chris Leben and Quentin Henry.

BKFC President David Feldman said all major platforms will carry the PPV. VanZant said she chose the bare-knuckle outfit to accentuate her best fighting features.

“If you look at my MMA career, my biggest downfall has been my jiu-jitsu and my striking has been my passion,” she told MMA Fighting. “I’m so excited to show that off.”

Hart is a seasoned pugilist with a three-fight experience in the bare-knuckle world. She made her promotional debut in August 2018 and dropped a split decision to Bec Rawlings, but looked impressive when she scored a TKO victory over debutant Randine Eckhom in her last fight last November.

Hart called out VanZant after her win, declaring “you’re next” as they faced off.

“Britain’s a real tough girl — she’s skilled, but she’s not the best technical boxer in the world,” Feldman said. “Paige isn’t going to have to chase her down. It’s going to be competitive, but I think it’s going to be a good opponent choice for Paige on her first event.

“[Paige is] getting paid very well, and I don’t think we could have thrown her somebody that never fought bare-knuckle before, or at least someone that had a pretty well-established record. I don’t think the fans would have liked that. We’re going to give the fans what they want.”