BKFC 41: Ben Rothwell Earns TKO Over Incredibly Durable Josh Copeland

Ben Rothwell and Josh Copeland, BKFC 41
Ben Rothwell and Josh Copeland, BKFC 41 weigh-in Credit: BKFC

Heavyweights “Big” Ben Rothwell and Josh Copeland never crossed paths during their respective UFC runs, but they had the chance to throw down as part of BKFC 41 on Saturday night.

The Colorado-based Pay-Per-View was arguably the promotion’s most stacked to date, with Luke Rockhold and Eddie Alvarez making their debuts. Rothwell, meanwhile, was in his sophomore outing in the company against Copeland, who had also made a name for himself in the PFL.

The pair clinched up early, with Copeland firing a blistering right off the break. That right hand would land again moments later, and a step-in right after that. Rothwell then exploded forward with a combo, before the pair tied up against the ropes, leading to the ref stepping in. But there was no shortage of action, with both men landing heavy blows in the opening round, leaving Rothwell bloodied.

The biggest surprise through the opening three minutes, perhaps, was that despite all the violence, the fight went three minutes.

The second round saw Ben Rothwell score the first knockdown of the fight, just past the midway mark of another active frame. Smelling blood, Rothwell went right back to work on the restart, but Copeland held on, and went back to his step-in right hand. Rothwell began lighting “Cuddly Bear” up again, however, backing him up to the ropes. Somehow, Copeland made it to the bell in another very active round.

“Big” Ben went right after Copeland in the third, firing uppercuts, right hands, and walking Copeland down. He ripped the body, working over Copeland in a clinch. Copeland was proving incredibly durable, but he was taking a beat. Rothwell had found his rhythm, found his range, and was essentially just teeing up his shots and letting rip at will. The ref took a close look, but Copeland survived the round.

Thankfully for Copeland, who was clearly in “too tough for his own good” territory, his corner preferred to see him live to fight another day. They threw in the towel following the third, giving Ben Rothwell the TKO win.

Following the fight, “Big” Ben called for a title fight with Alan Belcher, current BKFC heavyweight champ. Rothwell added that there’s one opponent he cannot beat, Father Time — so he wants that fight soon.

Official Result: Ben Rothwell def. Josh Copeland by TKO (corner stoppage), Round 3, 3:00