"The Beast" has answered the call. Florida's own Jim Alers will step into the squared circle on short notice next weekend on short notice to headline Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship's BKFC 7 event which will be LIVE and FREE on the BKFC YouTube page and on FITE.TV.
The bare knuckle event will pair Alers up against fellow UFC veteran Leonard Garcia on Saturday, August 10 from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Alers enters the event coming off an incredible 45-second knockout win over Elvin Brito at BKFC 6 in June.
It was the second time that Alers had defeated Brito; the first coming in a mixed martial arts contest less than two years prior.
"You always have that confidence once you beat someone that you kind of feel you have an edge over them," Alers said following his win in the rematch.
"I just felt like you can only learn and grow so much in a year or two years, so what really helped me was watching his last bare knuckle fight and just the way he went about it. In our fight he did the exact same thing so everything I drilled on was perfect for the fight."
For the upcoming BKFC 7 fight against Garcia, Alers is replacing Jason "The Kid" Knight, a former UFC foe. Knight earned a split decision win over Alers in July 2016, and now that they are both competing for BKFC, a rematch under bare knuckle rules is a possibility.
"Man.....you know Jason Knight and I have become pretty good friends. We've talked a lot since then and everything. There's so many other fights I would like to see but... if it came to it, I'm sure him and I wouldn't mind you know? We would go in there and scrap for the right amount of cash."
Aside from the possibility of fighting a former opponent once again, Alers believes he has found a new passion for combat sports through bare knuckle competition.
"My main thing right now.... I had a run in Russia, and I kind of fell out of love with MMA during that fight camp. I was like 'man, I don't really like this anymore.' But I kind of turned around. I think I just missed staying active. I went from only once a year maybe in the UFC to now I am fighting two times a month. As long as they (BKFC) can keep me active, I know they are trying to do that monthly series, and I'm healthy, I'm down to fight bare knuckle."
The quick finish at BKFC 6 and new found desire to compete is what earned Alers the short-notice call.
"They called me first before anything went public about Jason Knight being injured," Alers said. "I was like 'yeah of course.' I didn't hesitate. I knew that it was a tough fight but a winnable fight. My last fight, I was preparing in going out there for an all out war. I saw how some of these guys were coming out of their fights and I prepared myself for that. I kind of just went in and did my business and go out. I was like 'man, I did a whole training camp for a war, and ended up only fighting for 45-seconds. I'm not injured, I'm still in shape. Why not? Let's give it a go.' Hopefully I can do the same and go in there and get it done fast but if not, if it is an all out war, I'm physically and mentally prepared for that already."
With the Garcia fight now officially set as the BKFC 7 main event, Alers has had time to break his opponent down and prepare for his style.
"I've been watching MMA and fighting in it for a while and of course I've seen Leonard Garcia fight. I've been a fan," Alers said. "One thing that I see is that he is tough, and he is good at what he does, but I haven't seen much change in him over the years. I don't expect too much different from him last fight to this fight. So, there are a lot of things that I'm working on that I'll capitalize on. What he does, he does a lot, he does it often, so hopefully we see the same thing."
Even though both Alers and Garcia are experienced mixed martial artists with tenure in the UFC, this isn't MMA, this is bare knuckle. So how does one prepare for a bare knuckle fight, especially after training throughout an entire fight camp, only to go 45-seconds in your last outing?
"That's the one question that everyone asks me... 'How do you prepare for this? You know, I think it more on what your plan is to do. If you want to go in there and box, and go all five rounds, you can go out there and train, and play it safe in a sense. My sense is 'man, I want to get in there, get it done, and knock him out. I'm not trying to stay in there all five rounds.' A lot of the things I do are power movements, power shots, good head movement. I'm just trying to mimic Mike Tyson. I'm coming out black shorts, black shoes. I'm gonna be the Mike Tyson of bare knuckle."
Following his win at BKFC 6, Alers was able to step back and enjoy the highly talked about showdown between boxer Paulie Malignaggi and former UFC fighter Artem Lobov. The controversial decision had fighters and fans alike left wondering if the judges made the right call in awarding Lobov the decision.
"I did watch it," Alers said. "I stood up and I was like 'I need to watch this fight. I need to see how this goes.' It's weird, a lot of boxers I talked to believed Paulie won. I thought Artem won the fight in the MMA mindset as in he applied the pressure, he had bigger power shots. In my eyes, Artem won the fight, in that sense. In the eyes of the boxers, Malignaggi was jabbing, and staying on the outside, so they thought he won. In my eyes though, Artem won four rounds to one."