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BKFC 29 Preview: Joe Riggs fights a Ken Doll

UFC veteran Joe Riggs is back in bare knuckle action this weekend.

Joe Riggs when he fought Hector Lombard in BKFC.
Joe Riggs when he fought Hector Lombard in BKFC.
Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

BKFC is in the state of Montana for the second time ever. At BKFC 29 the organization will have their vacant bantamweight title on line in the main event. That fight sees Britain Hart Beltran, who handed Paige VanZant an L in her BKFC debut, taking on Clarisa Sigala (who is coming in on about 48 hours notice).

Hart Beltran, who married fellow BKFC fighter Joey Beltran last year, welcomed VanZant to gloves-less pugilism at KnuckleMania in February 2021. She won the bout by unanimous decision, earning notoriety for both the win and for the personality she displayed in the lead-up and aftermath of the bout.

That was Hart’s fourth fight in BKFC. She lost two of the previous bouts, to Bec Rawlings and Christine Ferea, and got her first win versus Randine Eckholm. Since beating VanZant she’s beaten Jenny Clausius and Pearl Gonzalez and failed to avenge her loss to Ferea.

At BKFC 26 she succeeded in avenging her other loss, though. At that event she won a unanimous decision over Rawlings, setting her up for this fight for the vacant bantamweight title.

She was supposed to meet Fani Peloumpi tonight, but the Greek fighter was denied a visa to travel to the US. So Charisa Sigala got the call on super short notice.

Sigala has a 4-2 pro MMA record with bouts in Gladiator Challenge and Combate. She debuted in BKFC in 2021, losing to Taylor Starling. She lost her second BKFC bout to Pearl Gonzalez that same year. Her third fight in 2021 resulted in a split decision win over Jessica Link. In March she fought to a draw with Angela Danzig.

Sigala slots into this fight despite already being booked to headline BKFC 31 on October 15 versus Paige VanZant.

The co-main has UFC veteran Joe Riggs taking on Josh Dyer aka ‘Ken Doll’. Riggs is a recognizable character from the UFC’s first and second boom eras. In the early 2000s he beat Chris Lytle, Nick Diaz and Jason Von Flue and lost to Matt Hughes, Mike Swick and Diego Sanchez.

After some time in Strikeforce, Bellator and anywhere else he could find a fight, Riggs re-signed with the UFC in 2014. He had a short and unsuccessful second stint in the Octagon and was back on the regional circuits in 2016. His BKFC debut came in 2018 vs. Brok Weaver, whom he won a unanimous decision over.

In BKFC he holds a 3-2-1 record. In 2021 he lost, via doctor’s stoppage, to former Bellator champion Hector Lombard. He followed that up with a TKO win over Melvin Guillard. Last time out he was stopped by Lorenzo Hunt.

Riggs’ opponent has less name-value in combat sports and has amassed a 2-1 record in BKFC. Dyer also holds a pro MMA record of 4-4, though he has never competed at a widely known organization. In BKFC he KO’d Jared Warren in 2020, lost to Lorenzo Hunt in 2021 and KO’d Dakota Cochrane in 2022.

After beating Cochrane, Dyer called out Riggs. At the weigh-ins yesterday Dyer did his best to get in Riggs’ head. Though, as you can see below, ‘Diesel’ didn’t seem too bothered by the antics.

Kai Stewart vs. Rusty Crowder may provide some fireworks on the main card. Stewart is 2-0 in BKFC with two first round stoppages. At 21-years-old he’s the youngest fighter on the roster. Crowder is 4-3 in BKFC with three of his wins coming via stoppage.

Another name of note on the card is Brian Maxwell who fought an exhibition bout opposite former NFL player Chad Johnson on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Logan Paul event last year. In BKFC he is 0-5 with all his losses coming via KO/TKO. He’s fighting Leo Bercier, who has a pro MMA record of 19-10-1 and is 1-1 in BKFC.

Bercier appeared on the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter. He lost his fight to get into the house after being TKO’d by the late UFC fighter, and Bloody Elbow contributor, Josh Samman (we miss you Anqa).


Full card/Weigh-in Results

Main card (9PM ET on Fite.TV)

Bantamweight championship: Britain Hart Beltran (113.6) vs. Clarisa Sigala (115)

Light heavyweight: Joe Riggs (184.6) vs. Josh Dyer (185.8)

Featherweight: Kai Stewart (145.9) vs. Rusty Crowder (150.3)

Welterweight: Dallas Davison (165) vs. Gorjan Slaveski (165.6)

Featherweight: Louie Lopez (145.2) vs. Dylan Schulte (145.6)

Middleweight: Cody Beierle (178.5) vs. JorDan Christensen (178)

Middleweight: Billy Wagner (167.2) vs. Henry Lindsay (169.1)

Strawweight: Nekah Dmitryeva (115) vs. Jenny Clausius (114.9)

Prelims (8PM ET on YouTube)

Lightweight: Erik Lopez (158) vs. Manuel Moreira (154.3)

Cruiserweight: Leo Bercier (204.5) vs. Brian Maxwell (203.1)

Featherweight: Dakota Highpine (144.5) vs. Koda Greenwood (144.8)


You can watch the main card for BKFC 29 on Fite.TV here. The event costs $19.99. The event is also being streamed on the Bare Knuckle TV service, which costs $4.99 a month. The prelims will air on BKFC’s YouTube Channel here.