In a thrilling and bloody battle, Eddie Alvarez emerged victorious over Chad Mendes in the main event of Bare-Knuckle Fighting Championship 41 on Friday night. The former UFC lightweight champion secured a split decision victory after five grueling rounds, but it was Mendes who stole the show with his display of heart and determination.
The fight started with both fighters exchanging blows in the center of the ring. Mendes, a former UFC featherweight title challenger, landed some heavy shots early on, but Alvarez weathered the storm and began to find his range. The two fighters traded punches and clinches throughout the first round, with neither able to gain a clear advantage.
Alvarez, a bare-knuckle first-timer, began with a long jab and reached for a lead, but Mendes responded with powerful punches, leaving a cut under his right eye. In the second round, Mendes landed a left that knocked Alvarez down. Alvarez tried to regain control, but Mendes countered with stiff uppercuts. Alvarez got his revenge with a short shot that briefly dropped Mendes.
By the fifth round, Alvarez's face was showing signs of damage with cuts and blood. He launched a flurry of punches that overwhelmed Mendes, who fell to the canvas, but Mendes bounced back with a left-right combo that wobbled Alvarez, the referee ruled it as a knockdown, evening the score between the fighters.
In the end, the two judges scored the fight 47-46 in favor of Alvarez, while Mendes got the same score from the third judge with a split decision fight going in favor of Alvarez.
“This is a pleasure,” Alvarez said. “Chad is a f****** dog. I did not expect that. The man hits crazy hard. This is a dog fight in here. I’m convinced right now this is going to be the best sport in the world. BKFC is here to stay.”
Mendes, on the other hand, announced his retirement from combat sports immediately after the fight, citing he has no desire left to engage in combat sports.
“Eddie is a freaking beast. Hats off to Eddie,” Mendes said. “I just wanted to say thank you to all the fans. I’m officially hanging them up tonight. Thanks for all the awesome memories.”
The fight was a testament to the toughness and skill of both fighters and a reminder of the excitement and unpredictability of bare-knuckle fighting. BKFC 41 was a night of thrilling fights, with a few other exciting bouts on the card, but it was the main event that will be remembered for years to come.