RAWLINGS vs HART (The Rematch)

Who will win?

BKFC 26 – June 24, 2022 – Hollywood, FL

The first time these two warriors went head to head was back in August of 2018 at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 2.  The matchup turned out to be a war that ended in a close split decision going in favor of Bec Rawlings.  Both Britain Hart Beltran and Rowdy Bec Rawlings came to fight in their first meeting and you can bet the bank they will show up ready to do the same in the second go around.

The thirty-three year old ‘Rowdy’ Bec Rawlings has toughness and has proven it over the years.  She always shows up in top shape and is always game to throw hands.  Rawlings is undefeated in bare knuckle boxing with an impressive (3-0) record.  She has real bare knuckle experience and with seventeen professional MMA bouts to her credit she is no stranger to combat sports.  Rawlings brings good footwork and smart movement.  She uses an effective tight high guard defense and knows how to catch the opponents punches with her elbows.  She is an intelligent fighter who knows how to conserve energy.  Rawlings can put together sharp straight punch combinations and is able to unload fast flurries.  She has a strong lead straight right hand and knows how to bust an opponent up.  Bec has a nice jab, acute ring awareness, and a solid presence inside the squared circle.  A possible factor some may consider is the fact that Bec Rawlings’ last bare knuckle bout was back in February of 2019, a unanimous decision victory over Cecilia Flores at BKFC 4.  She has competed twice in MMA with Bellator since her last bare knuckle fight, but it has been over two years from her last bare knuckle matchup.  Do I think this will be a big factor in the rematch?  No.  She may be a little slow coming out of the gate in round one, but I look for her to briskly try and find her comfort zone shortly after.  Look for Rawlings to use her quick hands and straight accurate punching.  If she hurts Hart early I would not be surprised if Rawlings tries to close in furiously in an attempt to end the show.  Bec Rawlings has hand speed that can produce damage.  She knows how to cut the ring off.  She is calm, calculating, and likes to stay in the pocket.  Bec has smooth pivot skills and knows how to follow the target.  Rawlings may want to consider using hard short hooks on the inside and focus on staying one step ahead of Hart.  The biggest factor Rawlings needs to consider is the fact that Britain Hart is not the same opponent she was in the first Rawlings vs Hart fight.  Rawlings had best bring her A-game on fight night or risk getting a big surprise.  With that said I am expecting Rawlings to bring her best.  Rawlings has experience, boxing skills, and fight game needed to win the rematch. If Rawlings can utilize her hand speed, accurate punching, and sharp movement it would seem she has a strong chance of pulling out another decision.  The question remains, will it be greater than the Britain Hart’s noticeable bare knuckle evolution. The thirty-two year old Britain Hart hosts a bare knuckle boxing record of (4-3) and is coming off a hard fought championship title fight unanimous decision loss February 19th of this year to the current featherweight champion Christine Ferea.  It is important to note that many things have changed from the first Rawlings fight, Hart’s footwork has improved and her bare knuckle fight game has grown considerably.  Hart has proven her grit and toughness time and time again. 

Britain Hart has an aggressive inside game.  She may find success if she can force Rawlings to fight with her back against the ropes.  It may be difficult to counter Rawlings due to her high tight guard and quick straight punching attacks.  If Hart can deliver consistent and accurate well timed heavy swarms I would not be surprised if she puts Rawlings in jeopardy.  It will be important for Hart to push hard and be the aggressor.  If Hart allows Rawlings to control the action she may find herself falling behind and coming up short.  Hart needs to get off first but not with one or two but with controlled waves.  In defense of Rawlings’ straight right hand and one-two combinations Hart needs to be mindful and keep her chin off the line and utilize intelligent head movement.  Do not let Rawlings get comfortable or find her rhythm.  If Hart can bring a relentless offense and a full gas tank I believe she has a real chance of stopping Rawlings.  I feel it will be important to not give Rawlings the time to regroup or reset.  Hart needs to put on the pressure from the start but not get reckless or wild.  Don’t let Rawlings breath.  Hart may have the advantage in the clinch and needs to take the opportunity to work the body hard.  Say hello briefly to the lower ribs, see if the inside uppercut to the chin has a home, and then find that liver and dig it out.  Rawlings backed Hart up for most of their first fight however I do not see that being the outcome in the rematch.  Hart had managed to get Rawlings attention with some big shots during the first fight despite never really being able to fire a good shot with her back foot planted solid along with clean rotation of the hips and shoulders.  I would like to see Hart incorporate that into her arsenal.  Once range is found she needs to use her jab with authority.  Hart may want to consider mixing in a little bicycle action and side to side movement if needed.  Perhaps in an attempt to create angles, or just enough to reset, recover if needed, or just enough to keep Rawlings guessing.  Hart should try and utilize her wide sweeping hooks in an effort to flank the high tight defense of Rawlings.  She needs to watch out for Rawlings elbows as they are not fist friendly.  In my opinion Britain felt Bec’s best punch in their first meeting, a short smashing right hook that dropped Hart hard to the canvas in round four despite referee Dan Miragliotta’s ruling of a slip.  None the less Hart leaped right back up to her feet looking for more.  Hart was not intimidated in the first fight and has gained sizable victories inside the squared circle since.  She has the confidence and the ability to win this rematch.    

Britain Hart Beltran delivers a hard straight right during their first encounter.
RAWLINGS vs HART (The Rematch) Who Wins? (QUEEN MMA Media)
Rowdy Bec Rawlings lands a solid left hook during fight one.

This looks to be an exciting rematch.  The first matchup was an extremely entertaining contest and I expect the drama and action of fight 2 to be even greater.  A win by Hart would officially validate her as one of best female bare knucklers in the sport today and could possibly generate a third fight with Rawlings.  A victory by Rawlings would prove the first time around was not a mistake.  A finish by Rawlings would send a loud message to the bare knuckle community and elevate her to a perfect and unmatched (4-0) record. 

By: T. Vickers (Combat Sports Journalist)


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