John “The Magician” Dodson makes his highly anticipated Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut at BKFC 28 on Saturday at the Rio Rancho Events Center.

It’ll be one of 10 scheduled fights on the card, which includes a women’s flyweight championship fight – champion Christine Ferea (5-1) vs. second-ranked Taylor “Killer Bee” Starling (3-0), a pair of 115-pounders.

Dodson brings an impressive MMA record into his Squared Circle debut vs. Ryan Benoit, also making his BKFC debut.

Dodson, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight title challenger has 10 UFC victories under his belt, including notable wins over former UFC champ T.J. Dillashaw, as well as former UFC title challengers Tim Elliott and John Moraga.

He improved to 22-13 as a pro MMA fighter after defeating fellow UFC vet Francisco Rivera in April.

Albuquerque strawweight Jayme Hinshaw (0-0) is ready to try something

Taylor “Killer Bee” in the other women’s battle here.

“I never professionally done bare-knuckle fighting, but I grew up here in the South Valley,” Hinshaw (4-4 in MMA bouts) told KRQE-TV. “So, I’ve had my fair share of street fights and bare-knuckle. So, it’s nothing new to me.”

It will be the first action for her since 2019. Her opponent will be Carrie Robb (0-2), who she met in the octagon for an MMA fight.

All told, 10 fighters will make their BKFC debuts in Rio Rancho.

Here are the other seven bouts at the Events Center:

  • Featherweights: Eric Dodson (0-0) vs. Nick Villar (0-1-1).
  • Welterweights: Isaac Valle-Flagg (3-1) vs. Brad Kelly (2-1).
  • Middleweights: Jeremy Sauceda (0-0) vs. Roderick Stewart (0-0); Wilfredo Santiago (0-0) vs. David Lopez (0-0); and Joshua Moreno (0-0 vs. Zion Tomlinson (2-2).
  • Light-heavyweights: Donald Sanchez (0-0) vs. Jeremy Smith (1-0).
  • Heavyweights: Kyle McElroy (0-2) vs. Josh Watson (0-1).

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

A throwback to the 19th century

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship is the first promotion allowed to hold a legal, sanctioned and regulated bare knuckle event in the U.S. since 1889.

Based in Philadelphia, and headed by president and former professional boxer David Feldman, BKFC is dedicated to preserving the historical legacy of bare knuckle fighting, while utilizing a specifically created rule set that emphasizes fighter safety.

BKFC is dedicated to not just creating the safest, most exciting and highest-level bare knuckle fighting organization in the world, it’s also leading the way for a new fully recognized professional combat sport.

BKFC will hold all of its bouts in a revolutionary circular four-rope ring, designed to encourage fast-paced and exciting bouts. The patented BKFC “Squared Circle” contains scratch lines, based on the Broughton Rules which governed bare knuckle fighting in the 19th century, and which requires fighters to “Toe the Line” — start every round face-to-face, just inches apart.

In BKFC, only those fighters who are established professionals in boxing, MMA, kickboxing or Muay Thai will be allowed to compete. Referees and judges are also required to have extensive professional combat sports experience. All fights will be held under the auspices and control of an athletic commission.

All fighters must have a groin protector with a cup, a mouthpiece, boxing trunks and boxing/wrestling shoes.

Other things to know:

  • BKFC fighters are not allowed to wrap their hands to within one inch of the knuckle. This makes BKFC unquestionably the truest form of bare-knuckle fighting.
  • Punches are the only strike allowed and must be a closed fist. No kicks, elbows, knees or grappling.
  • In a clinch, the fighter may punch his way out with the open hand. If there is a three-second lull in action while clinching, the referee will break the fighters.
  • If a fighter gets knocked down, he will have 10 seconds to return to his feet, or the referee will stop the fight. Contestants are not permitted to hit a downed fighter, facing disqualification if doing so. While a fighter is downed, the other fighter will be instructed to go to a neutral area.
  • If a fighter is cut, and the blood is impairing the fighter’s vision, the referee may call a timeout and give the cutman 30 seconds to stop the bleeding. If the cut cannot be controlled and the blood inhibits the fighter’s vision, the referee will stop the fight and award victory to the other fighter.
  • Fights are two minutes per round and each bout will be five rounds in length.
  • All fighters are expected to give 100% effort and behave with complete sportsmanship.