Ben Rothwell Gets New Opponent for BKFC 41, Faces UFC, PFL Vet Josh Copeland

Josh Copeland
Copeland v Jordan Credit: PFL

Bare-Knuckle FC has a big show coming up later this month with BKFC 41, and one of the bigger stars on the card is getting a new opponent.

“Big” Ben Rothwell had been set to face Josh Watson at the event at the 1stBank Center in Denver, CO on April 29. With injury forcing Watson, who knocked out Greg Hardy this past February, out of the event, UFC and PFL vet Josh Copeland is stepping in to take his place.

Promotion officials recently announced the match-up on social media.

Rothwell (39-14 MMA, 1-0 BKB), a former UFC talent himself, made his BKFC debut last October, absolutely starching Bobo O’Bannon with a 19-second KO. The 41-year old Kenosha, Wisconsin native finished up his career inside the octagon with a loss to Marcos Rogerio de Lima in November of 2021, later asking for his release despite being 3-2 over his last five fights.

A fan-favorite heavyweight, Rothwell, who competed for the IFL and Afflication, competed for the UFC for over a decade, debuting with the company in 2009.

Copeland (18-7-1, 1-0) also made his bare-knuckle debut for BKFC in October of last year, earning a third-round knockout against Levi Costa. In 2018, Copeland, who fought twice for the UFC in the mid-2010s, went to the heavyweight final in the PFL, losing the championship fight against Philip Lins.

BKFC 41 will feature the promotional debuts of recent free agent signings Luke Rockhold and Eddie Alvarez, in addition to women’s flyweight champ Christine Ferea putting her title on the line against the “Queen of Bare-Knuckle” Bec Rawlings. The card currently breaks down as follows:

  • Mike Perry vs. Luke Rockhold
  • Chad Mendes vs. Eddie Alvarez
  • Christine Ferea (c) vs. Bec Rawlings — For the BKFC Women’s Flyweight Championship
  • Ben Rothwell vs. Josh Copeland


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