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April 24, 2024

BKFC Fight Breakdowns for KnuckleMania IV

The roots of bare-knuckle fighting run deep in the UK and whenever the leading BK promotion travels across the pond, it's all fireworks.

Mike Perry vs Thiago Alves, Mick Terrill vs Lorenzo Hunt, Ben Rothwell vs Todd Duffee and much more are slated to throw down on April 27, 2024. KnuckleMania is the BKFC's flagship event every year and not a single one of the three previous to it have done anything less than set the combat sport's world on fire! Viral moment after viral moment have played roles in past KnuckleMania events! Just at KnuckleMania III alone, Josh Watson brutally knocked out Greg Hardy as a massive underdog and Lorenzo Hunt was Dropped by Mike Richman, only to get up and knock out ‘The Marine' a moment later. KM3 will surely be hard to top, but David Feldman and the BKFC roster find ways to make memorable, violent fights for our entertainment event after event! Let's look at the 12 high-level matchups set to take over Los Angeles for the April 27th evening.


Mike Perry has built a reputation for himself as being one of the tougher guys on the roster and in any combat sport. He likes to speak on his boxing skills and while he does know how to box with the best in the sport, his toughness and attitude are what have gotten him wins over higher level strikers than himself. Look at someone like MVP or Eddie Alvarez, both of them are more accomplished in the world in MMA but BK fighting is a different sport, a sport that seems to be catered to Mike Perry's skillset. Speaking of high-level strikers, Thiago Alves is just that! He's a striking coach at the American Top Team headquarters and let's just say they don't hand those jobs out to random talent. Alves is also the first ever BKFC middleweight champion and he never lost the belt, he vacated it. Mind you, both fighters have spent the majority of their BKFC careers up to this point at middleweight but move up to 185 (light heavyweight in the BKFC) for this matchup. How will the added weight affect each fighter's cardio? Mike Perry stays in phenomenal shape running several miles a day and doing hard sparring in camp with bigger guys like Lorenzo Hunt. He's also made it very clear that he prefers to fight bigger guys because he can take advantage of their lack of speed. Alves is naturally thicker than Perry but it's all muscle and he too stays in insane shape year-round. Perry should have the timing down very quick with Alves' layoff. For Alves, his advantage comes early where, if the timing theory presented here is wrong and Alves came without needing to dial it in, it could be a quick, easy night for Alves. Strikers do tend to struggle with their first fight back and that's by far the biggest concern for the always dangerous Alves.


Lorenzo Hunt steps up to heavyweight to go for his third belt within the BKFC! That alone is pretty wild but you also have to know he hasn't lost his other two. He vacated them because he wanted to make his case of fighting for a title in his first ever heavyweight fight. Simply put, ‘The Juggernaut' is all in on becoming the baddest man on the planet. Already sitting at the pound for pound number one slot, he looks to expand his legacy. Mick Terrill is no easy task for anyone and has only lost in the sport of bare-knuckle once, against former heavyweight champ Arnold Adams. He made right on that loss to win his title by knocking out the former champ after Terrill wore Adams down by round four. Terrill is an old school kickboxer and kickboxers are tearing through combat sports right now with MMA and most recently, within the BKFC. Hunt admits that his MMA career wasn't what he hoped it would be, but he's found a home where his excellent punching power mixed with speed have put him at the very tip top of a dangerous sport. The question with Hunt is does he lose that speed? It's very concerning that he was chinned by a middleweight in Mike Richman. Sure, he got back up, but if a 175er can drop him, what will Terrill, who's knocked out six heavyweights do when he connects with Hunt's chin? Hunt is low volume but commits when he throws. He has immense power for 185 and 205. It's worth noting that Terrill has been knocked out at heavyweight in that single loss. Speed goes to Hunt, power goes to Terrill and that leaves us with cardio. If Terrill stays in the clinch with Hunt for a few rounds, Hunt will wear out. The advantage absolutely goes to Hunt early and Terrill later. What a fight!


Ben Rothwell is going to be heavily favored to win here and it makes sense. Duffee isn't one to fight long and he's gotten a reputation for being chinny back in his UFC days. Being chinny and fighting Ben Rothwell is a bad combination. Rothwell is going to plod forward and so is Duffee. There's a lot of people that are going to be on the round one Rothwell knockout and you don't always want to side with the crowd. Duffee should be utilizing more defense than he ever has in this matchup and it might cause Rothwell to be a little gun shy. Remember Rothwell pulled out of this fight in December of 2023 and he did so very much last minute. Stuff happens and Rothwell got sick, but that's never a great look. Rothwell has the opportunity to silence any doubters here! We are very lucky if this fight gets into round two but I see it that way and even in that case, Rothwell is a proven entity at least until the end of round three where he forced Copeland to quit on the stool in their matchup.


Angulo has held WBO and WBC belts. He's also fought as an amateur in the Olympics which is arguably more impressive. There's no disputing that Angulo has accomplished more than most in his sport of boxing but he steps into the new, very different and far less forgiving sport of bare-knuckle fighting. He's doing so against a tough son-of-a-gun in Jeremiah Riggs, and what do we say about tough fighters here? Toughness is the number one weapon in the BKFC and there isn't a close second. Technique would take the number two spot as far as fighting attributes go and Angulo will have that in spades. Arguably enough technique to overcome the toughness of Riggs because if Riggs can't hit Angulo, who cares about toughness? Angulo wants to fight from the outside here but that's not his style, he bum-rushes dudes while still maintaining world class technique. I'd be very cautious about throwing money on Riggs in this spot. Angulo isn't being brought in to lose but he's not getting a pushover of an opponent. I expect this to go the distance more than 55% of the time. Think Trout vs Palomino with more speed and less power. The way this fight finishes is if Angulo rushes in and starches Riggs, but that's a tough chin to crack.


Sydney Smith steps in at right around a week's notice and what an opportunity for her. This is a very winnable fight for Smith, late notice or not. Crystal is a tough girl for sure but if you're looking to throw money on her, you're concerned about the technique and overall skillset. Again, toughness is the theme here but Pittman is fighting another tough girl who is pretty even with her skillswise. I'm not saying either girl is low-level, they wouldn't be on this card if they were. I'm saying they both lose to high level competition and dominate low level. This is an even matchup but if a finish comes, it's likely on the Smith side. Pittman can outpoint her way to a decision win but I really see this ending in a split and that's a risky bet! This fight for sure goes long and a lot of people are going to be doing sketchy BKFC math in the time from when the 14 minutes is up to when the scorecards are read!


This is a solid matchup between two fighters with a lower finish rate and that means we will see a back and forth likely for 10 minutes. Evgeny Kurdanov made his BKFC debut against former welterweight champ, Gorjan Slaveski. He fell short there but literally went strike for strike with him. Lane has been around the BKFC block a time or two and always fights close with his opponent. Both fighters also have a solid chin and a proven ability to keep the foot on the gas until the final bell.Lane will be riding into the night with momentum as he scored his first finish since he started with the promotion in 2017. Evegeny should be favored here but this is a close matchup. BKFC judges have been better than most in other combat sports, but there is always a risk letting the fight go the distance and hoping the judges get it right. I think Kurdanov is going to have the urgency to get the finish a little more to avoid falling to 0-2 in the BKFC.


We are finally getting a David Diaz that is giving this his all and that's a scary idea for anyone standing opposite to him. He's facing a debutant but Jordan has been around the BKFC for some time. He helped train Bryce Hall for his massive upset win over Gee Perez but I haven't seen him around Lorenzo Hunt who also helped the influencer come out on top. Getting training from the Juggernaut is invaluable and I would give Jordan much better odds had he trained with the P4P number 1. Diaz has fought emotionally in the past and will likely do so here again but he should be able to harness that energy more efficiently. He fought a prime Travis Thompson in late 2022 and has beaten mid-level competition up to this point. It's worth noting that Jordan is a boxing coach but it is a cardio-based training program that doesn't seem to focus too much on the technique of fundamentals. Still his cardio will be there, and he's gone the distance in all nine of his amateur boxing matches with a 4-5 record. The power leans to the Diaz side, despite him being unable to score a finish in the BKFC yet and I tend to think this fight ends inside the distance.


Ruben Warr made a great account of himself in his BKFC debut defeating an MMA veteran of 18 fights (9-9 record.) Warr himself is 12-12 in the sport of MMA but hasn't scored a single knockout in the sport. He did however finish in his BKFC debut but I personally don't rate his opponent, Lorenzo Coca very highly. I hope to see Coca back after some improvement, but he returned to combat sports after a horrible family tragedy and he wanted to prove to himself that he could do it after over a decade. I mention all of that to say that I don't believe Coca was 100% in the game and Warr was able to take advantage of that. Angelcor is 100% focussed and is a tried and true entity at 155. As cliche as it is to say, Angelcor sees a round one knockout coming and in his mind, he'll be damned if he loses in his home state. Warr hasn't had much time to let his body recover and despite his quick finish, he's still doing two weight cuts in a one month span. He's done this before in MMA and he's already fought twice this year between kickboxing and BK. Angelcor should be favored here but there's a bright future ahead of Ruben Warr.


Daniel Alvarez is a tough out for a debuting fighter in the BKFC. He's fought nothing but ranked fighters and Alberto Blas who will challenge for a title some day and probably hold one before it's all said and done. This is a great matchup to see where Alvarez skills really stand and also, where Rosas is going to go in the sport. This isn't unwinnable for Rosas by a long shot and I wouldn't mind a dog shot on him. I do think that Alvarez only loses to very high level fighters and there is no proof that Rosas is high level in the sport of bare-knuckle despite a really solid MMA career with a current record of 7-2-1. He's established himself as a bit of a knockout artist and sometimes Alvarez blocks punches with his face. In his last two fights, Alvarez absorbed 80% of strikes thrown and 69% of strikes thrown. Alvarez might be going backwards skillswise as his performances have declined over three fights. Depending on if you think this is a "get right" spot for Alvarez or not, will depend on who you side with. Again, a solid competition level here for both fighters at different spots in their BKFC careers.



Gonzalez should be heavily favored here with his vast MMA experience and massive knockout power. Both fighters are quite short for light heavyweight so there will not be a size advantage here. Familiar is a kickboxer and those guys tend to be very crafty strikers but he's not going to bring anything to the dance that Gonzalez hasn't seen before. Gonzalez is old school and old school MMA guys are as tough as they come. Familiar will have to put Gonzalez out and it's hard to see that happening.


Richard Brooks makes his combat sports debut after being discovered at the LA tryouts. He had really good bag work and aggressive sparring that stood out to the BKFC matchmakers among dozens of other potential additions to the roster. He's fighting Aaron who has far more formal experience than himself. My one problem with Aaron is his willingness to stay in the pocket a little too long and believe in his chin a little too much. He's been on the receiving end of knockouts on five occasions, just as many times as he's delivered them. He's seemed to curb that willingness to brawl a tad but he's coming off of a round 1 knockout loss in February of this year. Both fighters debut with different experience levels and there is much more known about Aaron. Still, if Brooks is a 3-1 or even 4-1 dog, you can't let that go untouched.


In the first fight of the night, Keith Richardson takes on Cody Vidal and Vidal makes his debut. Vidal injured his knee in Bellator back in 2019 and makes his return against a guy that caused a major upset his last time out. Richardson is going to pour pressure on Vidal early and he won't stop until one of them goes down, which I believe will be in the first round. None of Vidal's three MMA fights got out of the first round and none have even made it to the second minute. That tells us that Vidal is a wrecking ball making this an extra volatile fight. Richardson stays composed and if he's done his research, he'll look to counter punch his way to a round one TKO.

Written by Ryan Dean
*Fight card subject to change