Alvarez and Perry Set to Prove Themselves on Bare Knuckle Scene

November 15, 2023
8 months

Eddie Alvarez locked horns with many of the top MMA fighters in the world during his time with Bellator and the UFC from 2003 to 2021. Despite closing in on age 40, Alvarez wanted to keep taking on new challenges. After trying to compete in ONE Championship, Alvarez gave the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships a go. In a world where many older fighters opt for circus boxing matches, BKFC has provided a still bizarre but more legitimate level of competition for fighters who still want to challenge themselves.

Many former MMA fighters have gone that route and have done so with mixed success. One man who, fittingly, has found success in BKFC is Mike Perry. Perry wasn’t as decorated of a fighter as Alvarez. However, Perry’s eccentric personality has allowed him to cultivate a loyal fanbase.

BKFC Has Become a Landing Spot for Veteran MMA Fighters

One of the first major stars to sign with BKFC, according to MMA news sites, was Paige VanZant. VanZant, once regarded as one of the hottest prospects in women’s MMA, found difficulty avoiding injuries and taking on the toughest fighters in the sport. VanZant had a two-fight run in the UFC.

In her first fight, VanZant lost to Britain Hart by unanimous decision in February 2021. VanZant would have one more fight in the promotion, taking on Rachael Ostovich in a rematch of a war they had in the UFC. While VanZant submitted Ostovich in the octagon, Ostovich won the rematch in BKFC.

Luke Rockhold, Ben Rothwell, and Chad Mendes are other UFC fighters who ended up in BKFC. While there will likely be many other fighters who make the trek to the promotion, they aren’t ones suited with deep pockets to steal top talent. BKFC looked into signing former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou but couldn’t make the money work to get the powerful puncher to consider the organization.

Perry Has a Bizarre Run in the UFC

Perry was better known in the UFC for his bizarre behavior than his fighting prowess. During Perry’s time with the UFC, he compiled a 7-8 record. One of Perry’s more memorable moments was his win over Mickey Gall at the UFC Apex in June 2020.

Instead of paying cornermen to come out with him, Perry had his girlfriend, Latory Gonzalez, help him out between rounds. The fight was the last win that Perry would have in the UFC. He would fight two more times in the UFC, losing to Tim Means and Daniel Rodriguez.

Perry did have his fair share of struggles outside the octagon. He caused a stir by using racial slurs openly. He also got into a fight with strangers at a restaurant in Texas. Perry’s ex-wife, Danielle Nickerson, accused him of physical abuse, but Perry denied the allegations, and Nickerson never filed charges.

BKFC Has Been Good Home for Perry

Perry was always a striking-heavy type of fighter. Going to bare-knuckle boxing, where he no longer had the stress of worrying about wrestling, was a good fit for Perry. Since entering the BKFC, Perry has had several wild fights .

Perry won his first middleweight championship by decision over Julian Lane in February 2022. He would follow that up with a majority decision against Michael Page in August 2022. His fight with Page ended with a draw after five rounds, so they fought one more round to try and determine a winner.

During Perry’s most recent fight, he knocked out former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold’s teeth in a TKO win last April. That fight, especially considering Rockhold’s status as a former champion in the UFC, brought BKFC a lot of mainstream attention.

Alvarez Was One of World’s Best Lightweights

Unlike Perry, Alvarez reached the pinnacle of several different MMA organizations. During Alvarez’s time in Bellator, he captured the lightweight championship and had a successful title defense. During Alvarez’s time in the UFC, he also won the promotion’s lightweight crown.

Alvarez had a short reign atop the UFC. In Alvarez’s first title defense, he was knocked out in the second round by Conor McGregor. Alvarez would never get another shot at the championship in the UFC. After the loss to McGregor, he fought with Dustin Poirier, which ended in a no-contest due to an illegal knee.

After a win over Justin Gaethje, Alvarez would lose his rematch with Poirier in July 2018 by knockout. Alvarez had a four-fight run in ONE Championship, and he would ask for his release from his deal in September 2022.

Alvarez’s BKFC Debut Was a Wild One

Alvarez had to take time from his BKFC debut against Chad Mendes to acknowledge good advice from the crowd. During the third round, someone in the group was shouting for an uppercut. Alvarez threw the punch, landed it flush on Mendes, and pointed toward where his advisor may have been sitting.

The man shouting advice to Alvarez was McGregor, who had knocked out Alvarez to steal the lightweight championship from him. The fight between Alvarez and Mendes was a close one. Ultimately, Alvarez would win a split decision in a bout where both men knocked the other one down.

Alvarez and Perry Ready to Settle Differences

When Alvarez debuted, his fight was right before Perry destroyed Rockhold. While Alvarez was able to have a spirited bout with Mendes, taking on Perry will be a different beast entirely. Perry is a man who prides himself on striking and has found a home in BKFC.

Alvarez, 39, enjoyed his first fight but may not have the stomach to stick around such a brutal sport this late in his career. This should be a good test for both men. While Alvarez is the more accomplished athlete, he may be fighting Perry in the wrong sport to find success.

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