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February 27, 2024

Knuckle Up News | BKFC Fight Night Prospects Canada

Travel with the BKFC to the Great White North for the latest installment of the BKFC Prospect Series!

The land known for maple syrup and overly kind people gets taken over by some young bare-knuckle prospects on the rise. The night ends with Canada vs the United States as Jade Masson-Wong welcomes a scrap with Gabrielle Roman for a number one contender slot in the women's flyweight division. We'll run through all of the matchups on the night to look for a betting edge and remember, this is a new sport with a lot of opportunity for any gamblers who take the time to learn about who they want to back. At the end of the day, these are bare-knuckle fist fights but if you read last week's Knuckle Up News, you were already ahead of the game. You won't get flat out picks here, but you will get key points and you'll be guided into a direction that will help you compete with the sports books! To get involved with BKFC betting, head to nxtbets.com/playbkfc to see your sportsbook options.

Jade Masson-Wong (2-1-0) vs 5 Gabrielle Roman (1-0-1)
Women's Flyweight Main Event

Jade Masson-Wong is repping the home turf here and she'll be damned if she's going to lose the BKFC's first ever headline in Canada. She almost lucked into this spot as being initially scheduled as the co-main but Gibson vs Randall fell off and a bump up she gets! This is a massive opportunity for Masson-Wong and it will likely go down in her mind as her biggest fight ever should she win. What's next is a title shot, but what's better than winning a main event in THE bare-knuckle fighting promotion in front of your friends, family and countrymen in your nation's first event? Wong will have good counters, smooth combos and might try to bully the smaller fighter here.

Gabrielle Roman is the B side here like in her last matchup against Martyna Krol. It seems Roman performs the best when her back is against the wall as scored one of, if not the very biggest upsets in BKFC history with a round one TKO at +600 odds! Roman is a power puncher and doesn't throw many combos unless there is a clear opening to do so. She's one of these silent assassin types and she's gotten ranked in a highly competitive division without much attention. Her opponent gets a lot of flowers because of her online presence and Roman will get booed on her walkout being in enemy territory. She has zero intentions of letting the "good girl" win and looks with all of her power to spoil the night for the locals.

Paths to Victory

Jade Masson-Wong is deceivingly tough and she will likely have a cardio edge in this matchup. Roman was looking gassed after round one of her massive underdog victory against Martyna Krol but she was lethally accurate in that fight. Both ladies hold a high fight IQ and especially in the case of Masson-Wong, she will tailor her fight plan to her opponent. The difference in her approach from two taller fighters, Crystal Pittman and Taylor Starling was similar but she had improved leaps and bounds from a technical perspective in the more recent Starling fight. She pumped the jab from out of striking range and blitzed in for three and four punch combos there vs just going blood and guts when she fought Pittman. She will need to approach Roman the exact same way she fought Starling even though these two are of similar height. Roman may be the more powerful puncher here and in the first couple of rounds she's going to give Masson-Wong heaps of trouble until her power starts to dwindle which it will do so but very minorly. I see Roman being the aggressor and Masson-Wong trying to defend in the early stages of the fight. Roman will likely get an early knockdown and lead but Masson-Wong will be there 100% for ten minutes if she stays conscious. To overly simplify this main event, it's cardio vs power. Fighting at home can be a lot of pressure and we have seen first hand how Roman fights when she's angry and counted out. Masson-Wong will likely be a favorite but should not be more than a 2.5 - 1. If the books give her too big of an edge, slam the dog here since Roman has proven she should never be a big underdog. This fight should end in a TKO.

Sonny Smith (2-0-0) vs Jeremiah Riggs (1-1-0)
Welterweight Co-Main Event

Sonny Smith has limited MMA experience from the Washington regional scene but he is undefeated in BK boxing at 2-0. Both of those fights went the distance and they are over varying levels of competition. His win over Aaron McCallum (4-4-0 in BK) is a solid one but you'd like to see him put away a guy like Jonny Lawson (3-14-0 in BK.) Jeremiah Riggs is going to be the more dangerous fighter, having fought better competition. He's also got the proven stopping power but what's interesting here is that he may drag a brawl out of the technical Brit in Smith. Smith is going to be far more technical, Riggs is going to be far more dangerous. In a matchup of a brawler (Riggs) and a boxer (Smith), if the boxer's defense is solid the boxer will win nine times out of 10. In Smith's case his defense is immaculate but again, he leaves a lot to be desired in the "killer instinct" department. Smith should open as a narrow favorite here.

Stan Surmacz vs Reuben Roundstone
Heavyweight Bout

This is a great heavyweight fight and one that is going to be exciting despite two debuting BK fighters. Stan Surmacz is a talented 12-1-0 boxer from Canada with great fundamentals and high fight IQ. Reuben Roundstone is less experienced but has been very active while holding a winning record albeit slightly. Surmacz's last boxing match was three years before Roundstone began his professional career (2019 vs 2022.) If you are concerned about ring rust, Roundstone is your guy because this dude is coming in with nine fights in the last 22 months with a total record of 4-5. Despite the activity, 80% of Roundstone's wins came by sub and as tempting as it might be, he won't be able to strangle Surmacz in this fight. Boxing tends to beat MMA in a hands only striking match. Also, it's worth noting that this is a fairly short notice move for Roundstone. Surmacz was slated to face a different opponent early on and has been sharpening the daggers with the intention of toeing the line for a longer amount of time. This should be closely lined but Surmacz should be a slight favorite.

Drew Stuve vs Jason Kelly
Welterweight Bout

With the limited information available on both fighters, we are still able to sniff out an edge. Drew Stuve has very little experience on paper and actually no fights on stat keeping sites online. Jason Kelly has some inconsistencies with his records online but he is a 3-5-0 professional boxer and holds an 0-2 record in MMA. He is also 40 and has not fought since 2018. This is truly a dart throw but I think the unknown fighter will come in as a dog and it's as "safe" of a dog play as you can really get. Stuve should be coming into the fight in better shape and eager to get a win in his first professional event.

Chad Lucanas vs Trai Santos (0-1-1)
Lightweight Bout

Chad Lucanas was discovered at a tryout session and Chris Lytle was impressed by his power and tight technique. Trai Santos is looking for his first W in the Squared Circle standing at 0-1-1. Santos looks to be the better athlete having played soccer in his college days but this aint soccer. With Lucanas under Ryan Ford and possibly having a physicality edge with greater punching power, he should be seriously considered here. He's also the local and although it's a romanticized idea, the locals should do well IN THEORY in front of their fellow Canadians. This should be a very close line and I see Lucanas coming in as a slight dog which could be worth getting behind.

Jake Craig vs Sam Polk
Cruiserweight Bout

These two are going to look like evil twins of one another in the Squared Circle and this is one of the more intriguing matchups on the card! With so many debuting fighters it can be tough to find smart betting spots and this one is no different but I've got an angle. Both Craig and Polk have professional MMA experience albeit limited and Craig has a single professional boxing KO win under his belt. Polk has wins that come by T/KO and submission making him appear to be the more well-rounded MMA fighter. Why mention that? Well submissions are not allowed here and Craig is the more pure boxer with show stopping punching power. With the boxing experience and spotless amateur and professional records, Craig will come in as a favorite and that makes sense.

Hasan Alghanim vs Dalton Shtybel
Lightweight Bout

Alghanim has a small experience edge here with three boxing matches under his belt at a 2-1-0 record. We like to see knockouts from lower level boxers and he has none. This could be a problem when he faces the heavy-handed and gritty Dalton Shtybel who Chris Lytle claims has a "take one to give one" style. Dalton looked good on the bag and in sparring during a training session but this is a big moment for the debuting fighter in his home country. His opponent also hails from Canada and with the experience edge, the moment isn't going to get to him as much. Despite not having any KOs with 16 oz gloves, he hasn't been knocked out either and this at least signifies that he has a chin. With Shtybel's pocket fighting style, Alghanim's boxing defense should keep him safe and his counter striking will carry him through.

Tyler Tremblett vs Donnie Tice Jr. (1-0-0)
Heavyweight Bout

The big boys go at it and this should not make it out of round one. Tyler Tremblett is a Canadian boxer with both wins coming via T/KO and both losses coming by decision. This lets us know that he has cardio issues and potentially doesn't carry his power late into rounds. He's going to come forward and catch Tice Jr. or get caught by the heavy handed brawler. The American mixed martial artist, Donnie Tice Jr. has a bare-knuckle boxing KO win under his belt and that counts for a lot in this matchup. It's worth noting that Tremblett is going to be the taller man by three inches and will have a considerable reach advantage. Tice will be a favorite but if it's too wide, no one's going to think you're crazy taking the dog shot. If for some reason Tice is the dog, that would be one of the more live dog positions on the card.

Robert Desharnais vs Desi Johnson
Featherweight Bout

Neither of these fighters seems like they should be able to make 145. Both of them stand at six feet tall and have astoundingly long reach for the featherweight division. The immediate thing that stands out looking into Johnson's long career dating back to 2011, is that he has more canceled fights than fights themselves. This is always concerning when betting so keep that in mind if he gets you to the betting window. Desharnais on the other hand is very unproven standing 0-1 in amateur MMA where he lost his single fight via armbar so we will assume he prefers to keep the fight standing which works out in the BKFC! Desharnais is 16 years younger than Johnson and that alone is going to make him a favorite. Johnson stands at 4-9-0 in MMA heading into fight night.

Adam De Freitas vs Matthew Socholotiuk
Middleweight Bout

We open up the card with a Canadian on Canadian crime! In MMA, this would be a clash of styles with De Freitas being the BJJ player and Socholotiuk being the striker. Neither fighter wants to go too long based on their past fights but neither seems to have a cardio issue. Socholotiuk trains out of Tristar which trains the cream of the crop when it comes to Canadian MMA. If he's getting looks from the likes of Arnold Allen or Nasrat Haqparast, his striking is going to be far superior to the BJJ fighter but that the training partners are not confirmed. Still it just makes sense to lean towards the striker who will try to keep this fight at distance and De Freitas will try to incorporate the clinch into his game. BJJ fighters have had some success in our sport due in part to their solid, strategic approach to their fights. The major red flag with Socholotiuk is him not having fought since 2017. This is a true toss up and I'm not sure how you find a favorite in this curtain-jerker fight. Gun to head, I personally tend to like the more active fighter and that would be Adam De Freitas who will likely come in as a slight favorite.

Written by Ryan Dean
*Fight card subject to change