Paige VanZant loses bare-knuckle debut despite knocking out opponent’s teeth

Paige VanZant was beaten on her bare-knuckle debut as she lost a decision to Britain Hart.

The former UFC star was making her much-hyped and much-delayed bow following a nine-fight career in the cage.

But she came up short against three-fight bare-knuckle veteran Hart who was given the nod by each of the three judges by a score of 49-46.

VanZant immediately left the ring as soon as the scores were announced as a gap-toothed Hart took her plaudits.

"It's as big as you make it," the victor said in a highly-charged post-fight interview. "I'm not a person… I love Paige VanZant, she was an idol of mine because she's a pretty girl who can break the limits.

"I am not a person though, I am a feeling, and all you guys are going to feel me.

"Paige VanZant knocked my teeth out… it's a good thing sharks can grow back their teeth.

"I made this moment about the people who believe, not the people who don't believe. This is not for the people who said Paige VanZant was going to win, this is for the people who said I could.

"I really wanted to knock her out in the third round but she is tough… but was not going to let her out-work me."

Hart was on her front foot throughout a cagey opening round and a late flurry was enough for her to edge the session.

VanZant dominated in the clinch in the second round but Hart was able to land effectively to the body – and she again finished strongly on the bell.

VanZant showed more urgency in the third stanza but left herself open to the counter – and ate a huge right uppercut midway through.

The bare-knuckle rookie was also left with a swollen left eye as she struggled for answers.

Hart continued to cut off the ring in the penultimate session as she left VanZant punching thin air before she was caught flush with another right hand.

VanZant did enjoy a strong final round as she finally clicked into gear with a late flurry – but it wasn't enough to convince the judges.

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