Frank Tate jumped from the prelims to the main event on short notice, replacing an injured Dillon Cleckler in the BKFC 17 main event, where he dominated and stopped Josh Burns in the third round.
There was some controversy in the first round when Burns (5-5, 5 KO) went down, which appeared to be more of a slip than a true knockdown. But what happened from there was not controversial. Tate (1-1-1, 1 KO) repeatedly caught Burns and dropped him hard in the second, with Burns going back to the corner looking positively shell-shocked at the power in Tate’s right hand.
Tate finished things at 1:02 of round three after two more knockdowns, when referee Chris Young rightly called it off. It’s a huge win for the 45-year-old Tate, who was the hometown underdog and made a big chance really count, and showed respect to Burns after the fight, too.
“Josh Burns is a warrior, he’s been a warrior and I love him, man,” Tate said. “We’re gonna be buds. We’re buds already! I respect him.”
Mike Richman TKO-1 Marcel Stamps
Stamps (2-2, 2 KO) played football at Alabama from 2004-06, he wasn’t a standout or anything though BKFC would have you believe he won the Nagurski because it’s something unique among their roster.
Stamps lost his last fight when he moved up to heavyweight to challenge Joey Beltran and got stopped in the fourth round of a fight he was winning on the cards. Here, he was back down around 180 and Richman (2-0, 2 KO) just wrecked him with power shots. Stamps towers over Richman, but a right hand wobbled Stamps, and then Stamps was on the canvas. Stamps got up, but he slipped as they re-engaged and said his shoulder was injured, so the fight was over in 71 seconds.
It’s a big BKFC debut for Richman, a former Marine who said after the fight that he’s “here to wreck shop now, here to check some chins.”
- Lorenzo Hunt TKO-5 Josh Dyer: Hunt (6-1, 6 KO) is one of BKFC’s more technical, sound fighters. That’s not to say Hunt can’t crack, because he absolutely can, but he’s got a more cerebral approach than almost anyone. He’s aggressive, but not reckless, and he pounces more when he sees the openings. If he dictates tempo, opponents are in for a long night. He controlled the pace here, and Dyer (2-1, 2 KO) never really got into this one. Dyer went down several times before the fight was stopped in the fifth and final round; he had repeated issues with a contact lens in his left eye. At one point the referee allowed him a timeout to replace it, but after it happened again the fight was stopped. It had also happened in the first round and he had to replace it in the corner. Bare knuckle not a great sport for fighting with contact lenses, it seems. Dyer will be back, he’s a good fighter, but Hunt was too fast, too strong, too skilled for him.
- Ronnie Rogers TKO-1 Dimitri Angelini: Both were making their BKFC debuts, Angelini an experienced kickboxer and Rogers 20-13 in MMA. It felt to me like Angelini was very confident that he was going to catch Rogers with his hand speed, and he did land shots, but Rogers was very smart, very measured, and kept countering over the top of Angelini’s punches. A counter left put Angelini down once, and then not long after, he made the same mistake, Rogers blasted him on the button with a counter right hand, and the fight was over in 97 seconds. Angelini did get up but he was out of it, referee made the right call.
- Bobo O’Bannon TKO-2 Zach Calmus: Big boys throwin’ hands in this one. O’Bannon (3-2, 3 KO) is a bare knuckle vet at this point, and a tough dude. He’s not a huge puncher but he throws plenty. Calmus was making his debut here and, to be honest, was a little too fired up on the way in. He came out throwing at O’Bannon, but Bobo’s cooler head prevailed, as Calmus got dropped five times in two rounds and really just taken apart, leaving a bloody, busted up mess. But he still had a smile on his face, and he clearly won the crowd — and me, for what it’s worth — over by proving that the toughness in him is absolutely there. The man would not stay down even though he clearly had nothing left in the tank in round two. With some experience, Calmus really might be someone to watch in BKFC, and he definitely earned a return.
- Ezatullah Kakar KO-1 Chris Sarro: 46 seconds of absolute mayhem, just both guys trading back-and-forth until it was over. Kakara rushed off the line with jabs, backed Sarro up, and then Sarro rocked Kakar, and Kakar rocked Sarro, and Sarro hurt Kakar again, and then Kakar caught Sarro with a counter shot that put him on the canvas, and Sarro couldn’t beat the 10-count. Truly just a WILD fight, the sort of thing you want here. Fights of any kind do not get a lot more purely exciting than this.
- Robert Washington TKO-2 Ryan Jones: A cut stoppage early in the second round. Jones (1-1, 1 KO) had been cut pretty bad on the eyelid in round one, and Washington (1-2, 1 KO) picks up his first bare knuckle win as a result. The fight was competitive, both landed, Washington had gotten rocked a bit in the first, too. Unfortunate way to end but it really was a bad cut.
- Tom Shoaff KO-1 Nathan Mitchell: Shoaff was moving down in weight here. He’s had a number of fights in bare knuckle already, and while his W-L record still doesn’t look great, he’s fought good opponents and always been tough as hell. He might have found the right weight, and he’s got the demeanor. He was cool and collected here, and it was a rough night for Nathan Mitchell on his debut. Shoaff (2-3, 2 KO) knocked Mitchell’s tooth out with a jab before finishing him with bruising shots to the body.
- Rusty Crowder KO-1 Daniel Gary: Crowder just flew at Gary here, and Gary wasn’t quite ready for it. Nothing hugely clean seemed to land, but Crowder’s fists were just all over Gary, and Gary went down and did not get up before the 10 count. 60-second fight. Crowder is now 3-2 in bare knuckle and is always fun to watch, brings the fight. Gary was making his debut here.
- Anthony Retic KO-1 Andy Locker: This lasted 38 seconds. Retic is 6’3” in the 135 lb division, so a tall lad. He smoked Locker on an uppercut, both came out throwing, and Retic landed the difference-maker first. The shot might have broken Locker’s nose. Locker, aka “The Bluegrass Kid,” just couldn’t quite beat the 10 count, but he tried. Retic is now 2-0 in bare knuckle and might be someone to watch in this division with those dimensions, and he’s got some hands.