Luis Palomino and Jim Alers came into tonight’s Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship main event at BKFC 14 with a grudge to settle, former training partners whose relationship reportedly turned sour, and in 44 seconds, it was settled.
Palomino (3-0, 2 KO) crushed Alers (4-1, 3 KO) in short order, dropping the 34-year-old former UFC fighter twice and finishing things in under a minute, smoking him on a right hand that pretty much ended the fight, but Alers did try to fight on to no avail. He was dropped again and stopped there.
Palomino, a 40-year-old originally from Peru and now based in Miami, is an MMA veteran himself, having competed in Bellator for a stretch, and has looked dominant since going to bare knuckle. His win saw him retain the BKFC 155-pound title, and add the Police Gazette championship, as well.
“I busted my ass in the gym, man, because Jim Alers was the face of this organization and this division,” Palomino said after the fight. “And I took him out the way that I did because I am that much better. I’m the undisputed champion of the world, and I’ll continue to be that.”
There was also a pro wrestling-style interruption by Tyler Goodjohn, a potential future challenger. I’ll get into that sort of thing more in the results below.
“I think we went from one grudge match to the next grudge match tonight,” promoter David Feldman said after the fight.
England’s Goodjohn, who is a recorded 2-0 (1 KO) in bare knuckle and 13-5 (4 KO) in pro boxing, will make his BKFC debut next month as part of the BKFC 15 card, which also features British heavyweight Mark Godbeer, and is built around a “The British Are Coming” theme. You may have seen Goodjohn over the years in boxing, he’s had losses to guys like Tyrone Nurse and Johnny Garton. He last fought in pro boxing in 2017.
Before we get into the fight recaps, I also wanted to note that Frank Mir, the 41-year-old UFC veteran and former heavyweight champion, was at the show, did commentary for one fight, and said he’s “basically 100 percent in” for coming to BKFC and trying his hand in this sport. Mir has a career 19-13 record in MMA, which is better than it might seem to boxing fans who don’t follow MMA much, and while he certainly is well past his prime in MMA (he’s lost four of his last five), his experience and toughness could make him a real threat in bare knuckle.
- Jake Bostwick PTS-6 Tyler Vogel: This one went to an overtime round, which is in my opinion just not a good idea, because you’re asking fighters to cool down after spending their energy for a five-round distance they prepared to fight. But the cards were even, supposedly, and they went to an HISTORIC! sixth round for overtime. There is no double OT, by the way. I thought the decision was poor. I had Vogel up 48-46 after five, despite suffering a flash knockdown in the second round, I just thought he more consistently landed shots, did better work, Bostwick was swinging and missing a ton. Then he clearly out-worked Bostwick in the OT round, landed more shots, Bostwick swung and missed a bunch, so in the end it was 58-55 Vogel for me. I’m not saying I’m a super genius or anything but if what Vogel had done for five rounds, while suffering a knockdown, was good enough for him to be even on the cards at the end of five, it’s hard for me to see how Bostwick won that sixth round. They didn’t read any scores. But it was historic, I guess.
- Britain Hart TKO-4 Randine Eckholm: Eckholm had never fought before in any pro fighting arena, and she was game but got fairly well dominated and stopped by Hart, who is now 1-2 in bare knuckle, with two losses to good fighters, and is also 4-4-3 in pro boxing, she can scrap, I’d seen her fight before in both sports. The fight was a set-up for Paige VanZant, who will debut Feb. 5 in BKFC, to do commentary and then be called out post-fight by Hart in a very rehearsed, pro wrestling-style bit. The thing about pro wrestling bits is they work in pro wrestling because (1) you expect them, and (2) the people on the microphone have been trained on how to do promos. Most real people in real situations sound corny, and that was the case here. Hart is a credible opponent for VanZant’s BKFC debut, so focus on that, and not the painfully lame back-and-forth they tried to do. If you’re gonna sound like Jumpin’ Jeff Farmer it’s probably best to not do this stuff, and the secret is most people are gonna sound a lot more like Jumpin’ Jeff Farmer than they are Ric Flair.
- Francesco Ricchi TKO-3 Noah Cutter: Cutter started fast, dropping Ricchi two times in the opening round, and Ricchi was in bad shape by the time the bell sounded, got his mouthpiece punched into the crowd. But he got it together in the second, and by then Cutter (1-1, 1 KO) was gassing pretty bad. Ricchi (2-0, 2 KO) dropped Cutter early in the third, and it was over there, a big comeback win for the 26-year-old Italian, now living in Miami. Cutter leaves this fight with a badly cut lip, a busted ear, and obvious markings on the face. Tough way to get paid.
- Uly Diaz KO-1 Donelei Benedetto: Diaz promised he was going to start fast. So as they toed the line, they touched knuckles, and then when the bell sounded, Diaz charged forward, missed a jab, landed a right hand, and that was it. Three seconds. That was it. Diaz, a 39-year-old Cuban, is now 2-0 (2 KO) in bare knuckle after going 12-1 (11 KO) in pro boxing from 2017-19. In a post-fight interview, Diaz called out Thiago Alves for a fight, doing so with respect to Alves. Diaz simply wants to fight the top name available.
- Jarod Grant TKO-3 Christopher Johnson: Lightweight fight, 135 pounds. Grant made his BKFC debut in September, demolishing a dude, but he had a tougher fight here. He got dropped in the first round as Johnson was able to land some good uppercuts in the clinch, and was hurt pretty bad toward the end of the first, too. But he got on his boxing in the second, punished Johnson to the body, returning the knockdown and having Johnson done by the time the bell sounded. Johnson had so little for the third that as soon as he ate a good shot and was going down early in the frame, the towel came in. Good showing from Grant, showed some heart and some real desire against adversity early, then took over for a clean, clear win.
- Eddie Hoch TKO-2 Jeff Chiffens: 155-pound fight. This was an absolute wipeout. The first round was just two minutes of Hoch (1-0, 1 KO) assaulting Chiffens (1-3, 1 KO) without relent, battering his face, busting his lip open pretty bad. And then Chiffens finally went down in the second, at which point his corner threw the towel. Chiffens was extremely tough here but he just got absolutely demolished by Hoch’s onslaught.
- Lorenzo Hunt TKO-2 Davian Green: This was the bare knuckle debut for Green, who did OK in the first round and came in confident that his undefeated record in street fights would help him out. But when Hunt (4-1, 4 KO) caught him with good shots in the second, Green appeared to quit, basically. He lost his mouthpiece twice and the second time the referee called it off trying to give him instructions to resume. The 38-year-old Hunt, who fights in the 205-pound division, can definitely crack, and a lot of BKFC stuff in these early days for the promotion is going to be tough men and women finding out whether or not they really want to be in this sort of fight. This wasn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this, won’t be the last.
- Alan Arzeno TKO-1 Fred Pierce: The 39-year-old Pierce (1-4, 1 KO) was coming off of a good win on October’s BKFC show, but his leg completely gave out here. He was technically down twice (three times, but the referee tried to rule the third one a slip), but it was just his leg giving out on him. Referee Chris Young tried to let him continue — and Pierce wanted to — but by the time they got Pierce out of the ring, he couldn’t walk under his own power anymore. Arzeno, 41, makes a technically successful bare knuckle debut, but definitely not how he wanted to do it. He showed a lot of sympathy for Pierce after it was over, and was clearly disappointed to not really get to fight.
- Kenmon Evans KO-1 Sedric Johnson: Evans has won on prelims in September and November now, and he looks like someone who should be headed to the main cards soon. A 28-year-old light heavyweight, Evans is now 2-0 (2 KO) in BKFC after going 5-0-1 in pro boxing from 2015-18. Johnson, 36, went 1-3 in MMA from 2014-15, and was just out of his depth here, as he stayed at too long a distance and became target practice for Evans. A long right hand rocked Johnson bad, and Evans came in to finish him off, landing another right that put Johnson down for a 10-count.