UFC veterans ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, Gabriel Gonzaga set to headline BKFC 8

Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva will take on Gabriel Gonzaga in a bare knuckle bout. | Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

UFC heavyweight veterans Antonio Silva and Gabriel Gonzaga will collide in the main event of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship’s upcoming event in Tampa, Fla., on Oct. 19, the promotion announced Wednesday.

Both fighters will be making their debuts in bare knuckle bouts.

“I am very excited to have these two legends competing in the BKFC squared circle,” BKFC president David Feldman stated in a release. “They have fought and beat some of the best fighters in the world and now they will fight each other. Tampa is a great fight market and we are thrilled to be able to host another event there. The fans in Tampa love BKFC and we plan on giving them another great show.”

Silva (19-12, 1 no-contest) hasn’t fought since Oct. 2017, when he lost via second-round knockout to Rico Verhoeven in his kickboxing debut at Glory. As a mixed martial artist, “Bigfoot” has been finished in seven of his last 10 fights, winning only once since 2013.

Aside from his BKFC debut, the former UFC heavyweight title contender is set to return to kickboxing on Nov. 30, facing Gregory Tony for the WKN super heavyweight title in Auckland, New Zealand.

“It’s a great honor for me to fight for a great new company like BKFC,” Silva stated in a release. “They are doing everything right and this is a great opportunity for me to showcase my boxing. Fighting with bare knuckles is where it all started for me. I will be ready for Gonzaga, so he better be ready for me. I’m fighting for my children and nothing will stop me.”

Gonzaga (17-12), who also challenged for the UFC heavyweight title at one point of his career, announced his retirement from MMA after losing to Derrick Lewis in the UFC, but came back in May 2018 to lose to Aleksander Emelianenko via TKO.

Between those bouts, “Napao” made his professional boxing debut in Worcester, winning a majority decision. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist is 1-5 over his last six MMA bouts with four of those defeats coming by knockout or TKO.

“I have fought everywhere in the world, in the biggest organizations, and bare knuckle is exciting, pure and it’s where it all started,” Gonzaga stated in a release. “I am excited to have the second half of my career fighting for BKFC. I have no doubt I made a great choice and BKFC will be one of the biggest promotions in the world. I can’t wait to fight ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. He is a great fighter, but I am coming ready to win.”

BKFC has yet to announce other match-ups to the card.

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