The clear “Fight of the Night” on the inaugural Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) fight card “BKFC 1: The Beginning” in June 2018 was a matchup that had the combat sports world buzzing when Joey Beltran scored a decision victory over Tony Lopez in a bloody war. The longtime rivals will pick up where they left off and again face each other, this time on Saturday, February 2 as part of “BKFC 4: USA vs. Mexico” live on pay-per-view (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) from Beto Avila Stadium in Cancun, Mexico.
“Tony Lopez and Joey Beltran’s first fight at BKFC 1 was one of the most exciting fights I have ever witnessed and I have been at thousands of them,” said BKFC Founder and President David Feldman. “Sometimes rematches don’t live up to the first fight, but I feel that this one will be even better. I expect great exchanges, lots of action and blood!”
“BKFC 4: USA vs. Mexico” will be broadcast across the United States and Canada, exclusively on pay-per-view through MultiVision Media, Inc., on all major television and streaming distribution outlets for $29.95. It will also be available worldwide via streaming to all in-home and out-of-home connected devices.
By February 3, Beltran and Lopez will have fought each other twice in BKFC competition, but that only tells a fraction of the story of their rivalry. The fighters first faced each other in 2008 as part of “King of the Cage: Opposing Force” in a fight where Lopez forced Beltran into submission in the first round.
Lopez’s victory was his sixth consecutive MMA victory at the time, while Beltran had a four-fight winning streak snapped. After the fight, both men continued to rack up victories until their MMA rematch in 2009. Despite being dropped early in the fight, Lopez was able to recover and battle his way to a unanimous decision victory in a five-round contest.
While the two men would not square-off again for nearly a decade, they continued to have success in their respective MMA careers. Lopez fought more than 90 times in professional MMA, racking up an impressive 61 total wins, while Beltran would go on to be victorious in UFC and Bellator fights that he competed in through 2016.
Although their two battles had taken place some time ago, BKFC gave them a chance to once again show their skills, but also prove themselves in this rivalry. On June 2, 2018, Beltran was seeking revenge, while Lopez sought to make it three wins against his rival.
Beltran struck the first significant blow, putting Lopez on the ground with an overhand right at the end of the first round as blood began to pour down Lopez’s face. An extremely competitive and tense round two concluded with an ominous stare down.
In the third frame, Lopez began trying to enforce his will on the fight using his size and a powerful sweeping left hook. Beltran continued to work his counters, but accidentally poked Lopez in the eye just over one minute into the round. After Lopez was given time to recover, the action picked up with increased intensity, as the two men stayed close to one another throwing bombs from short range.
After a wild exchange led to a quick referee-ordered timeout to clean the blood off of Lopez, the final moments of the third round showcased a memorable flurry of big punches from massive men who had already spent a significant amount of time in the ring against each other.
More of the same was on display in round four with both men working through large amounts of blood streaming down their faces. The fifth round was another bloody, brutal stanza that saw powerful punches thrown all the way until the end. Although Lopez raised his hands after the final bell rang, it was Beltran who would finally earn a victory against his rival.
On February 2, 245 days after their fight at BKFC 1, Beltran will look to even the score against Lopez, while Lopez hopes to make it a 3-1 advantage and stake his claim as the superior fighter once and for all.
“I am prepared to come to Mexico and get a finish and end this rivalry,” said Beltran. “This is the fourth time I have met this man inside of a ring. Each time has resulted in intense violence and entertainment. I expect the same from our encounter at BKFC 4. I am prepared to come to Mexico, get a win and end this rivalry once and for all.”
“A rematch is a second chance to fix my mistake in our last fight and give my fans in Mexico a chance to see the action up close,” said Lopez. “I’m going to show the world I belong here in BKFC!”
BKFC 4 will also feature former Ultimate Fighter competitor Julian Lane battling Mexican-American UFC veteran Leonard Garcia,”Queen of Bare Knuckle” Bec Rawlings defending her title against Puerto Vallarta’s Cecilia Flores, 20-fight UFC veteran Chris Lytle facing MMA veteran JC Llamas, BKFC heavyweight tournament runner-up Sam Shewmaker returning to action to take on Tijuana’s Joel Paredes and former WEC Middleweight Champion and 12-fight UFC veteran Joe Riggs competing in his second BKFC attraction as he faces Mexico City’s Heriberto “El Rudo” Tovar.