Misfits Powerhouse Elle Brooke Welcomes Paige VanZant Back

Misfits Boxing X Series 015: Brooke vs. VanZant
Misfits champion Elle Brooke and Paige VanZant face off ahead of their fight. Photo: Misfits Boxing

Misfits champion Elle Brooke will welcome former UFC star Paige VanZant back to action at Misfits 015 in Houston.

It would be very easy to generalize Misfits middleweight champion Elle Brooke into the little boxes of “influencer” and “content creator.”  To be fair, she is certainly those things in spades, commanding followers in the hundreds of thousands (if not a million) on any given social media platform and being the most searched star on the world’s top adult website.  To say that she doesn’t know how to be successful on the internet would be like saying a bird doesn’t know how to build a nest.

But that would be overlooking the fact that Brooke is widely considered one of the top fighters in the entire influencer boxing landscape, male or female. The English product is a rarity in that she is not only has the numbers online, she is a powerful athlete who has shown a high aptitude for boxing and continues to show improvement in each outing.  Training with former WBC champion Ebanie Bridges, Brooke has four victories in five bouts with her lone loss coming in an unfairly organized bout where she was severely undersized against her opponent.  But if the public needed proof of where she stood amongst her peers they got it in her last bout where she claimed the title by emphatically stopping former foe AJ Bunker by KO, an infrequent result in women’s boxing and an even bigger rarity in women’s influencer boxing.

If it has seemed as if Brooke has had more to say ahead of their fight, it’s because she should.  Regardless of the result, she is the one who has flourished under the Misfits brand and will be a part of the roster going forward.  To defeat a combat sports veteran like VanZant would be a huge feather in Brooke’s cap that would bring greater recognition to her skills inside the ring and boost her profile outside of it.

But while Brooke has more to gain, it can be argued that Paige VanZant is the one with the most to lose.  It has been well documented by now, but “12 Gauge” has grown an absolutely powerhouse brand via the subscription website OnlyFans that has afforded her the ability to fight for no other reason besides the fact that she wants to.  Once the can’t miss prospect who took the UFC by storm at 20 years old, the now 30 year-old VanZant has enjoyed the kind of career outside the Octagon that most fighters never come close to enjoying.  Between mainstream opportunities on Dancing with the StarsAll Elite Wrestling, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and Chopped, VanZant has become one of the most successful entrepreneurs that MMA has ever seen.

All her business ventures aside now, VanZant has struggled to produce the desired results inside competition.  Going back to 2020, VanZant left the UFC on a loss to then rising prospect (now contender) Amanda Ribas and signed with BareKnuckle Fighting Championship where she lost to veteran Britain Hart and former foe Rachael Ostovich.  Due to circumstances outside her control, VanZant also had a fight cancelled in 2022 and had not reportedly been attached to any fights until this bout.

The biggest mystery going into the bout is the most obvious one that has circulated VanZant’s fight career in recent years: where are her skills and dedication to fighting at this stage?  Even since just her last bout, it’s very possible VanZant has been to more training sessions than Brooke has had in her whole young career.  But combat sports are a unique challenge and the ability to read and react to your opponent is a skill and talent that can deteriorate without the proper focus and practice.

On paper, there is every reason to believe the bigger and taller VanZant should overcome the smaller and less combat sports experienced Brooke.  But against a young and hungry champion eager for a breakout opportunity, anyone less than a highly prepared VanZant could find themselves facing unexpected challenges in the ring.

There are plenty of challenges left for both women.  An immediate rematch should VanZant win stands out as she would then be the Misfits champion.  VanZant has also said she will return to finish her BKFC contract and compete under that banner again, which would be a big move considering the new interest in the brand with Conor McGregor joining ownership.  For Brooke, any number of influencers from entertainment and beyond could be options as the Misfits brand continues to expand in the ever expanding combat sports space.