EX-UFC fighter Thiago Alves revealed bare-knuckle boxing is LESS damaging than MMA, as he compared the two sports.

Alves, who left the UFC in 2019, signed for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship last year and has two fights for the promotion.


He recently won the inaugural BKFC middleweight title with a brutal stoppage of Ulysses Diaz.

The Brazilian had 38 MMA fights during his career and despite the blood and gore of bare-knuckle boxing, he said the pain barrier 'doesn't compare'.

Alves, 37, told SunSport: "When it comes to injuries in the sport, of course, every time you fight in bare-knuckle, your hands are going to be swollen for a few weeks.

"You're going to have lacerations from getting hit with bare hands but besides that, you're good to go.

"I don't think you take as much damage compared to an MMA fighter. Of course, it's very graphic, you're gonna get cut very easy.

"But damage-wise that will carry on through your career, it doesn't compare to MMA at all."

Alves, who coaches Dustin Poirier, walked away with the BKFC belt and a shattered middle finger, which needed surgery.

But he revealed it is nothing compared to what he used to suffer from after fighting in the cage.

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Alves said: "Injury-wise, from the neck down, besides your hands and knuckles, I'm good, nothing hurts.

"Every time I fought in MMA my whole body was pretty damaged, from kicking, the knees, the grappling, your ribs, your neck.

"With bare-knuckle boxing, yeah you might have a few stitches in your face but they're all superficial.

"You can't really load up because you'll break your hands. This fight right now, I've only have five stitches on my face.

"I broke part of my little finger because I was throwing bombs and I connected really clean, but besides that, I'm good to go.

"Recovery should be easy and I should be back fighting again by the end of the year or start of next year."

Alves made his MMA debut in 2001, with his career spanning over 18 years, which included a defeat to UFC legend Georges St-Pierre, now 40.


Having spent years tirelessly honing all martial arts crafts, focussing solely on boxing has also been less taxing on his body.

Alves explained: "I really enjoy bare-knuckle boxing, especially right now at the end of my career.

"It's very easy on my body compared to getting ready for an MMA fight, you don't have to worry about the grappling.

"That's where most you're injuries happen between the exchange from striking to grappling, that's where you get hurt the most.

"My body feels great, I'm very refreshed despite all my years competing in MMA, in the UFC, I feel like this is a breath of fresh air for me.

"Focusing on one single thing, boxing, it's a lot easier on my body, I'm able to absorb information, I'm 100 per cent focussed on the boxing, and dirty boxing aspect."

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