GREAT FALLS — On Saturday night, Great Falls will host their second Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and there will be plenty of local, familiar faces back in the fighting ring.
Dallas Davison, Leo Bercier and Louie Lopez are all competing out of Joe Riggs gym in Black Eagle, Diesel Counterpunch MMA, where they’ll be among some of the fan favorites.
“All the hype that the Montana fighters, it's all true. It's all real. We're all tough people out here. We're really tough. We train hard. We come ready to fight,” Lopez said.
For local fighters Kai Stewart and Davison, at 2-0 in the BKFC, a win on Saturday could mean a title shot for either one of them in their next fight
“I love watching Dallas Davison fight,” Lopez said. “When he does win, he will have a shot at the title. I firmly believe that and if he doesn't, he's one more away.”
For others, like Helena’s Lopez and MMA legend, Riggs, it’s a chance for redemption. Riggs lost via KO in the light heavyweight championship bout against Lorenzo Hunt in a highly anticipated fight.
Lopez lost to Rusty Crowder in a controversial TKO due to a doctor’s stoppage. Crowder will face Stewart this weekend but for Lopez, the sour experience with Crowder and the aftermath of the fight left a bitter taste in his mouth.
“I can't begin to describe how much I felt just disrespected,” Lopez admitted. “He didn't. He didn't earn that at all.”
Lopez will face Missoula native Dylan Schulte — who now trains out of Colorado — who is 1-0 in the BKFC and has won a number of MMA fights.
“I know he's been professional for a few years now. I also know that he's won a few straight so he's dangerous,” Lopez explained.
Great Falls and the state of Montana are present for eight of the 11 fights and with the last BKFC event in Great Falls being sold out, Lopez expects it to be the same if not more packed this time around.
“The BKFC knows when they come to Montana, they know that we're crazy," he said. "We love the fights here. I'm telling you, it'll be sold out again.”
Below are the eight of the fights that include either Great Falls or Montana-based fighters. The action gets going at 6 p.m. for the preliminary fights at the Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls.
Joe “Diesel” Riggs (Great Falls) v. Josh Dyer
Kai Stewart (Great Falls) v. Rusty Crowder
Dallas Davison (Great Falls) v. Gorjan Slaveski
Billy Wagner (Great Falls) v. Rome Lindsay
Louie Lopez (Helena) v. Dylan Schulte (Missoula)
Leo Bercier (Great Falls) v. Brian Maxwell
Erik Lopez (Dillon) v. Manuel Moreira
Dakota Highpine (Great Falls) v. Koda Greenwood (Montana City)