CASPER, Wyoming– The final press conference for Friday night’s “Rise of the Titans,” pay-per-view event, presented by the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF), was held today at Hilton Gardens Inn in Casper, Wyoming.
The entertaining main card is headlined by a WBKFF middleweight title fight between former UFC welterweight champion Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks and MMA veteran Dakota Cochrane, who has replaced original title challenger “Irish” Brennan Ward.
The spotlight will also be on the co-featured event, when Chris “The Crippler” Leben and “The New York Bad Ass” Phil Baroni battlefor the WBKFF light heavyweight crown, in what is expected to be a highly entertaining fight.
Integrated Sports Media will distribute the “Rise of the Titans” main card throughout North America, commencing at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, on cable, satellite and digital pay-per-view via iN Demand, Vubiquity, DIRECTV and DISH in the United States, as well as Rogers, Shaw, Bell TV and SaskTel in Canada, and live-streamed worldwide on FightBook MMA on the FITE.TV Network for a suggested retail price of $29.95.
The PPV main card will also feature Las Vegas middleweight Joey Angelo against Albuquerque’s Julian “Nitrane” Lane, Ultimate Fighter runner-up Christina Marks against professional boxer Jasmine Clarkson for the WBKFF Women’s Bantamweight Championship, Brazilian Marcelo “Mello” Alfaya takes on Joey Munoz at a 177-pound catchweight, and former UFC and Bellator fighter, middleweight Josh “The Dentist” Neer, faces Albuquerque boxer “Mad” Mike Aldrete.
A blind draw will be held at today’s weigh in (7 p.m. MT at Hilton Garden Inn) to determine the match-ups for the WBKFF’s launching of its $100,000 Lightweight Tournament, kicking-off with three fights: MMA veterans Nick “The Ghost” Gonzalez, Ireland-native Jay “The Mellow Fellow” Cucciniello, Estevan “El Terrible” Payan, Robbie “Problems” Peralta, Mike “The Greek Assassin” Bronzoulis, and South African Leon “The Iron Lion” Mynhardt
The “Rise of the Titans” preliminary card will precede the PPV event, which will be available to watch on a free Preview, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. PT, live on FITE.TV, as well as via DIRECTV and DISH pay-per-view channels leading up to the main card on PPV.
The preliminary card’s fights are former UFC fighter Issac Vallie-Flagg vs. Cory Simpson at a 175-pound catchweight, California super heavyweight C.J. “Big Cake” Leveque vs. New Mexico’s Juan Torres, and Fred Pierce vs. Jeff Chiffens fighting at a 160-pound catchweight.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Hall of Fame ring announcer Jimmy Lennon, Jr. joins WBKFF all-star announcing team comprised of Bas Rutten, Kenny Rice and Jessica Penne, who will all work the PPV and preliminary cards.
Newly adopted rules including holding and striking, spinning backfists and hammer fists will be used in all WBKFF fights, which will be contested in a traditional boxing ring for optimum viewing and safety. All men and women’s matches will feature five (two-minute) rounds.
Limited tickets are on sale available to purchase by going online HERE.
Ticket prices range between $200.00 – $500.00 for Ringside, $50.00, $30.00, $20.00, $10.00 in the 100 Level Grandstands.
Press conference quotes and additional pictures are below
BAS RUTTEN, WBKFF president: “Two and one-half months ago I was asked to be the color commentator for this show. I was told that they do anything for me to work it I did some research and felt bare knuckles has a good future, so I met with the WBKFF officials in Chicago, and now I’m president.”
TOM STANKIEWICZ, WBKFF CEO & founder: “This is going to be a a great show. We have a great ring announcer, Jimmy Lennon, Jr., and great announcing team with Bas, Kenny Rice and Jessica Penne. I want to thank the people of Wyoming for supporting us. All the fighters are ready, and this is going to be a great show.”
PHIL BARONI: “I’m always the main attraction. It’s going to be a good fight. Good luck to you (Leben).”
CHRIS LEBEN: “It’s been a long road. I saw the bout sheet and thought it was rad. I was called to fight Phil Baroni. He comes out wining, I come out swinging. I’m sorry you’r (Baroni) going to be the guy in the ring Friday night.”
JOSH NEER: “I haven’t fought for almost three years, but I’ve been training every day. I was approached to fight on this card. When I saw Leben and Baroni were fighting, I knew this was going to be a sick card.”
MIKE ALDERETE: “I’m happy to be here. I’m fighting a name opponent. WBKFF is giving us this opportunity. I’m a boxer and I want to show everybody what I can do.”
ISSAC VALLIE-FLAGG: “I’m excited to be here and fight without gloves, stand-up with no takedowns. Cory is a tough guy. I’m sure we’re going to beat the hell out of each other.”
CORY SIMPSON: “I’m excited to show what I can do. I’m going to scrap.”
WBKFF $100,000 Lightweight Tournament Kickoff participants
L-R – (front) Nick Gonzalez, Leon Mynhardt, Estevan Payan, Jay Cucciniello and Robbie Peralta; (rear) WBKFF president Bas Rutten. WBKFF CEO Tom Stankiewicz and Mike Bronzoulis
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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