DraftKings Now Offers Betting on Bare-knuckle Boxing: BKFC 27 Odds, Pick & Prediction for MVP vs. Platinum (Saturday, August 20)
Courtesy Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. Pictured: BKFC welterweight Mike Perry
- DraftKings now offers betting markets on Bare Knuckle FC, the most prominent bare-knuckle boxing promotion.
- BKFC President David Feldman says U.S. sportsbooks now realize BKFC is here to stay.
- Ben Fowlkes breaks down Saturday afternoon's BKFC 27: MVP vs. Platinum event in London.
Michael “MVP” Page vs. Mike “Platinum” Perry Odds
Bare Knuckle FC is in what you might call its ancestral homeland of London this weekend, and it’s brought one of the biggest fights it could possibly make to celebrate this trip to the birthplace of modern professional pugilism.
BKFC 27 goes down on Saturday afternoon, headlined by former UFC fighter and overall problematic bar brawler Mike Perry taking on London native and Bellator contender Michael “Venom” Page in a five-round fight. The event is available via pay-per-view on FITE.tv (2 p.m. ET).
This is the kind of bout that, when BKFC first announced it, almost felt like a prank. Page is still under contract to Bellator, meaning he had to get permission from company president Scott Coker and the crew to take this fight.
And you mean to tell us that they not only agreed to let him go box elsewhere, but to do so against a wild card like Perry, and also bare-fisted?!? It strains belief. And yet here we are.
DraftKings Enters Bare-knuckle Betting
Saturday’s Page vs. Perry fight is also the exact sort that BKFC craves, since it seems just crazy enough to arouse the curiosity of fight fans who can’t look away from the promise of a car crash like this.
Bare-knuckle boxing is already a brutal undertaking, more prone to cuts and cosmetic damage and the raw violence of blood-soaked fists crashing into lacerated faces during furious affairs across two-minute rounds. Then, on top of all that, you add a stylist like Page against a slugger like Perry? The potential carnage is too great to ignore.
But this fight is significant for BKFC in another way, as it marks the start of a new deal with DraftKings, which will now offer odds on BKC events. This week I spoke with BKFC President David Feldman, who told me the deal with DraftKings has been in the works for some time, but took a little convincing even after BKFC jumped through the necessary regulatory hurdles to become eligible for online wagering in the U.S.:
“The regulatory side actually wasn’t as hard. We just had to show (sportsbooks) that we were going to be around. They didn’t want to waste their time if we weren’t going to be here. But now they know we’re getting bigger, and we’re getting some big names. It’s the marquee names that bring these guys in, but we did really good numbers (with) offshore (sportsbooks).”
According to some industry insiders I spoke to, there are other reasons that the legal US online sportsbooks popular with American bettors might have been hesitant to offer lines on BKFC fights.
For one, they don’t always have a ton of information about some of the fighters who appear on BKFC undercards, which makes coming up with fight odds difficult. There was also the concern that, since BKFC has a small but loyal cult following, the only people who know or care enough to bet on those fights are sharps who might know more about the fighters and the matchups than oddsmakers do.
According to oddsmaker Nick Kalikas, with Circa Sports in Las Vegas, it’s not always easy for a newer sports property such as BKFC, which held its first event in 2018, to gain the visibility and the reputation for dependability that established sports books look for:
“I personally think that BKFC is doing a lot of things well, but it takes time for some of the newer organizations or leagues such as BKFC to garner enough respect and trust from the gaming industry for lines to be regularly available. If they continue to sign bigger name fighters such as (Paige VanZant), Mike Perry, and (Michael Page), I think more sportsbooks would have to take notice. The demand for lines from sports bettors would also significantly increase.”
In that sense, fights like Saturday’s main event between Page and Perry are not only eye-catching, but also vital to BKFC’s mission to become an entrenched part of the combat sports landscape – not just the lunatic fringe of an already niche sport.
Will Michael Page’s Talents Translate to BKFC?
As for this one, oddsmakers seem to have a pretty clear idea of what to expect.
Page is the bigger, taller and longer fighter, and he’s also generally the cleaner striker. That might explain why he’s going off as a -250 favorite over the hard-nosed but not exactly difficult to hit Perry, who’s currently a +210 underdog at DraftKings.
The question is, how will Page’s striking style – typically marked by jumping knees, awkwardly timed kicks, and other below-the-waist maneuvers not allowed in bare-knuckle boxing – be affected by the change in rule sets?
Perry at least has the advantage of having done this before. Training for a bare-knuckle fight can be tricky, since not many sparring fighters are eager to let themselves be punched in the face with a bare fist. Sometimes the shock of this new world can be difficult for fighters to adjust to right away.
But then, at least here Page doesn’t have to worry about takedowns and the grappling game, which has been known to slow his striking output in MMA. As long as he can keep Perry on the outside where he wants him, he should be able to pick him apart.
For Perry, the best part of the BKFC rule set might be the extra allowance for fighting in the clinch.
Unlike the gloved boxing under the Marquess of Queensberry rules, BKFC lets fighters do more punching from the clinch.
Perry probably needs to bull his way in close, get Page against the ropes, and go to work inside where Page’s footwork and hand speed won’t help him as much.
Page vs. Perry Pick
The best line available here might be taking the -105 odds that the fight will go over 2.5 rounds.
Page should win, provided he can avoid letting Perry dictate the pace and the distance too much, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take his time early on to figure Perry out and land safe shots without going for the kill and risking injury to his exposed hands.
The goal for Page is to not only win, but also come out unscathed enough to make this risk worth the overall reward. I don’t think he’ll hurry too much, and we all know Perry is tough enough to eat a punch or two. With the shorter two-minute rounds, he might even make it the distance, so the +380 line on Page via decision is also worth a look.
Leans: Over 2.5 rounds (-105) | Page Wins via Decision (+380)