BKFC 19: VanZant and Ostovich To Test Their Skills and Drawing Power

Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich square off at weigh ins. Photo: BKFC

Two of MMA’s most successful social media stars will look to see if their drawing power translates to pay-per-view as Paige VanZant fights Rachael Ostovich in bareknuckle boxing at BKFC 19.

In a time where the definition of a pay-per-view star is being redefined, there is no question that both Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich know how to bring in a crowd.  Their drawing power has already been proven; they both have successful fan sites that bring them tremendous revenue despite a paywall.  This Friday, however, will be a true test to see if the fans who pay to see them outside the ring will be willing to pay top dollar to see them compete inside of it.

Paige VanZant has already made this leap.  After a UFC run that saw her become a bonafide crossover star, “12 Gauge” signed a lucrative deal with BareKnuckle FC and went the distance in her debut against Britain Hart in February.  She came up short in the contest and it was far from the rousing debut she hoped to have as she embarked on her post-UFC career.  Going into her second bareknuckle bout, she has worked more exclusively with a traditional boxing coach in Florida as opposed to MMA striking coaches at American Top Team that helped her prepare for Hart.

Rachael Ostovich arguably has more to prove.  In MMA, she has struggled to keep a consistent schedule and is 0-3 in the last three years.  Her loss to Gina Mazany last year led to her release from the UFC and she quietly fielded offers on the free agent market.  BKFC ended up being the ones to sign her, following successful signings of fan-favorites VanZant, Pearl Gonzalez, and most recently re-signing Bec Rawlings.  A successful run could rejuvenate her competitive career, making her a top attraction for a promotion that has struggled to create one.

It should be noted, wins or losses for either woman are unlikely to matter to BKFC.  The quartet of VanZant, Ostovich, Rawlings, and Gonzalez is interchangeable to the point that they can be matched up in the immediate future and still draw interest regardless if one or both is coming off a loss.

The bout between VanZant and Ostovich in MMA is hard one to draw much from stylistically.  Virtually the entirety of the bout involved grappling or kicks that are both banned in a bareknuckle match.  Both were better known for their skills on the ground than their striking in MMA.  VanZant should look to use her movement and a high volume attack to outwork the more plodding Ostovich.  Ostovich by comparison should look to use her physicality and push forward to keep VanZant on her heels and close to the ropes where she is easier to corral into a corner.  It is vital that Ostovich unload with heavy shots to do damage when she has VanZant at close range to cut away at her gas tank that has been proven in long bouts.