MMA stunner Paige VanZant has claimed she has "sacrificed everything" for her next Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) outing, predicting that she will knock out fellow ex-UFC fighter and social media star Rachael Ostovich.
Already holding a submission win over her fellow American in the octagon from their UFC meeting in January 2019, the 27-year-old believes that victory will stand her in good stead against one of the only female MMA fighters who can rival her vast Instagram following.
VanZant is seeking redemption for the defeat she suffered to Britain Hart in her sole outing for the BKFC since joining last year, and her bout with Ostovich, who followed her in joining the promotion in April, is a marketing dream for the championship between two of its best-known stars.
"I think so," Vanzant told MMA Junkie when asked whether that triumph more than two years ago would bear any significance in their July meeting.
"When you beat somebody, you have a mental edge over them. You just do. Beyond that, having the experience in bare-knuckle, especially in BKFC… I think [with] my experience, I won’t have that hesitation going into this next one, and I’ll know exactly what to do, and I’ll be more comfortable."
VanZant sees her points defeat to Hart in February and recent focus on boxing as an advantage over debutant Ostovich.
"Going into that first [fight], there are certain elements of bare-knuckle boxing that you can’t prepare for unless you actually have experience fighting," she said.
"You can’t do bare-knuckle boxing on your teammates. There are a few elements that I needed to adjust to. I feel my experience going into it is definitely going to give me the upper hand."
Probed on her strategy against Ostovich, Van Zant emphatically hoped that the evening does not go the cards again.
"I’m coming for the knockout, for sure," she warned, having initially promoted the fight by telling fans on Instagram: "Come for the boobies. Stay for the violence."
"I don’t see any other way, especially with the coaches I have in my corner for this camp and how hard I’m training.
"I’ve sacrificed absolutely everything for this, so I’m coming for the knockout."
VanZant also admitted that she missed MMA. "We’ll see," she answered, when a possible return to the discipline was discussed.
"I definitely miss it. It’s hard because I love every aspect of training and fighting. I love boxing.
"I could see myself going into pro boxing, and I could see myself continuing and going back into MMA. I feel like the sky’s the limit.
"I am still super young, so I’m still finding myself in this sport, and I was lucky enough that I made a really big name for myself at an early age.
"But now it’s time for me to really develop in this sport and grow as this sport grows, and I’m just in this perfect place here in Florida – to have American Top Team, to have [trainer] Pedro Diaz and really just become the best fighter that I could possibly be.
"Becoming a better striker helps you throughout your entire career, no matter what you do.
"So I feel like I’m developing my striking but the differences for bareknuckle are more adjusting to the rounds, adjusting to short rounds, adjusting to the distance, the range.
"There are just a few small elements, but all together it’s going to make me a better striker for MMA and just a better striker overall. So it’s not necessarily that I have to re-learn, it’s just learning new things to continue to grow."Also on rt.com ‘Come for the boobs, stay for the violence’: Bare-knuckle bombshells Paige VanZant & Rachael Ostovich set OFFICIAL date for brawl