Biloxi, MI (March 20, 2021) Friday night, March 19, in front of a sold-out crowd at the Biloxi Civic Center and a huge international audience watching live on the BKTV App, Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC), ‘The World’s Fastest Growing Sport’ delivered BKFC-16, another epic night of action from the opening bell of the evening to the final call of the historic headliner.
In the main event of the evening, Leonard ‘Bad Boy’ Garcia, (2-1) ended an illustrious career in mixed martial arts with a dominant, unanimous decision over Joe “The Hitman’ Elmore, (2-1) by scores of 50-45 twice and 49-46 in an action-packed fight that delivered on the hype in the lead up.
In a clash that featured both combatants surviving huge power shots throughout, Garcia kept the upper hand with more heavy-handed punches and an ability to take Elmore’s best without being deterred. Elmore suffered a bad cut in the first round that while bleeding from his head did not deter his valiant effort throughout.
Said the 41-year-old Garcia after the fight. “I still got a lot left in the tank. I’m still a legend, I still did everything I said I was going to do,” Garcia said after the fight. “But fighting a guy like Joe was something else. I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about Joe. I got all the respect in the world for him and I don’t take anything from him.”
“I’ve got an important decision to make and it’s a hard one. My deal with God was to be the No. 1 guy when I left. That’s why I took the fight with Joe Elmore. I wanted to prove to the world I was the No. 1 fighter at 165 when I retired.”
In the heavily touted bantamweight co-feature, Reggie ‘Eaz-E’ Barnett Jr. (6-1), defeated former world champion boxer DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley, (0-1) with the first-time bare-knuckle fighter failing to come out for the fifth round. Barnett controlled the action for most of the fight with relentless pressure that didn’t allow Corley to use his vast boxing skills.
Following the fight Barnett Jr. jumped on the mic to make his case for a BKFC world title fight. “Dat Nguyen disrespected me as a man, he disrespected me as a fighter, and he disrespected the whole organization. I have more wins than you. If you are the so-called champion, you know who’s next, so stop hiding.”
BKFC’s first Heavyweight World Champion and First Heavyweight Police Gazette Champion, Arnold ‘AJ’ Adams, (4-1), made his highly anticipated and triumphant return a successful one with a first-round knockout over veteran Bobo O’Bannon, (1-2). Using his array of skills and a full arsenal of punches, Adams dropped O’Bannon in the initial stanza as the referee called a halt to the action at 1:58 of the round.
Fighting at a weight limit of 165lb., Kaleb ‘The Lionheart’ Harris, (3-3), scored a first-round stoppage of Noah Cutter, (1-2) when the ringside physician deemed Cutter unable to continue from cuts suffered in the opening round. Both Harris and Cutter scored at will in the opening two minutes of the fight which was unfortunately cut short.
In the welterweight division, Scott ‘The Irish Spartan’ O’Shaughnessy, (1-0), made his BKFC debut a success with a first-round stoppage of Melvin ‘The Young Assassin’ Guillard, (0-2). After an opening minute featuring the proverbial ‘bombs away’ action from both fighters, O’Shaughnessy sent Guillard down against the ropes with a huge right hand where he continued to unload with power shots. Referee Keith Hughes controversially ruled a TKO ending to the fight for O’Shaughnessy as opposed to calling the knockdown on Guillard. Following the fight Guillard demanded a rematch against O’Shaughnessy.
Competing in the heavyweight division, popular Jason ‘J Hook Em’ Fish improved to 2-0 in BKFC with a third-round entertaining stoppage of Adrian ‘Guard Yo Grill’ Miles. In a clash with both fighters landing at will throughout the first two rounds, Fish overcame a bad cut on his head to score a vicious knockdown with a big right hand calling a halt to the action at the 1:20 mark of the round.
In an outstanding five-round war featuring two fighters who were selected from BKFC Fighter Tryouts, David Diaz, (1-0), won a five-round majority decision over Spencer Ruggeri, (0-1), fighting at 135lb. Part of the training team of BKFC Heavyweight World Champion Joey Beltran who was ringside screaming encouragement throughout, Diaz valiantly weathered the storm in the first two rounds including being dropped to seize victory by scores of 48-45, 48-45 and 47-47. Despite being badly cut, Diaz continued to throw bombs badly hurting Ruggeri in the final two rounds including the fifth which saw Ruggeri docked a point for a backhand punch.
Headlining the three Free-to-View YouTube prelims, Elvin ‘El Bandido’ Brito, (3-2), scored an entertaining five round decision over Brad ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly, (1-1), by scores of 50-45, 49-47 and 48-47, competing at 165lb.
In the heavyweight division, 21-year-old, ‘Z-Man’ Zion Tomlinson, (2-0), continued to impress with a first-round stoppage of BKFC debuting Tyler ‘The Zombie’ Hill, (0-1). Time of the stoppage was 1:40 of the opening stanza.
Opening the evening in the middleweight division featuring BKFC debuts, Ryan ’The Juggernaut’ Jones, (1-0) scored a second-round stoppage as Eric ‘The Genetic Freak’ Thompson, (0-1) suffered a hand injury and the bout was halted at the end of the stanza. Both combatants hit the canvas in an entertaining first round.