Rachael Ostovich didn’t care the odds were against her getting into her fight against Paige VanZant in the main event of BKFC 19.
A past loss to VanZant in the UFC in 2019 certainly played a role in his status as an underdog, but it was the inexperience of unarmed competition that likely made Ostovich look like a long shot up for grabs in its early days.
The 30-year-old Hawaiian was more than happy to prove all those skeptics wrong while delivering a five-round demo performance to ultimately win a unanimous decision while adding a second straight loss to VanZant’s record since signing with BKFC.
While proving something to herself was far more important, Ostovich was proud to finally show her true potential to the rest of the world while defeating a former opponent at the same time.
“It’s pretty crazy knowing I knew I was good,” Ostovich explained at the BKFC 19 post-fight press conference. “I knew what I had all those years, but it didn’t just couldn’t translate into my fights. So that he finally comes out on the winning side, it feels good. It feels really good.
As soon as the fight started, Ostovich threw powerfully behind his punches, showing absolutely no fear of engaging in trades with VanZant.
This was an issue that plagued VanZant in his first fight with BKFC and Ostovich was obviously paying attention to it.
“I wanted to get that respect very quickly,” Ostovich said. “I wanted to let him know that I am not playing. You will feel my power. You’re not going to come here and just lead me. I don’t care if this is my first fight here.
A forehand has been his best weapon all night as Ostovich continuously pummeled VanZant with that same shot on multiple occasions, including once in the fourth round this wobbly-legged veteran of the UFC.
Even in those moments when VanZant managed to establish a smooth jab or connect with a combination of her own, Ostovich was determined to take the win and she had no problem telling her opponent in the ring.
“Just having a strong mindset and knowing it’s my fight,” Ostovich said of his best attributes in the ring on Friday night. “I win this. I said to myself ‘it’s mine’. I even told him [in the fight]. She would grab me and I would be “nice, but this is my fight” type.
“I was talking to him, I was letting him know and that’s exactly what it is. Sometimes you have to believe in yourself when no one else does. I went out, I showed myself. I came to do what I came to do and it was to win. I expected nothing else, nothing less. I came home victorious.
Prior to the event, Ostovich admitted that she had never considered fighting with her bare hands and that it honestly wasn’t something she was interested in.
That changed when BKFC presented a lucrative financial package that also included the fight against VanZant and Ostovich quickly changed their mind.
Now, after her successful debut, Ostovich quickly became a fan of hand-to-hand fighting, but she’s going to trust the people around her to decide the next step in her career.
“Bare joints, a totally different sport. Honestly, when you step in there, it’s fun, ”Ostovich said. ” I was having fun. I was talking. I was there. I was downstairs. It was great.
“It’s definitely up to my manager. i can say yes [I’ll fight bare-knuckle again] whatever I want up there, but in the end it has to be on paper and I’m sure they’ll have a good chat after that.