Former UFC star Leben to battle ex-Alabama LB Stamps in Bare Knuckle boxing match

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) will bring sanctioned bare knuckle action to Alabama for the first time on Saturday, April 11 as UFC veteran Chris Leben and former University of Alabama linebacker Marcel Stamps go toe-to-toe in the main event of BKFC 12 from Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Ala.

The BKFC 12 co-main event will showcase a highly anticipated heavyweight title bout as BKFC Heavyweight Champion Joey Beltran defends his belt against rugged MMA veteran Mark Godbeer.

Tickets for the live event are on sale Friday, March 6 and can be purchased at and Etix.

“It will be a great fight,” said BKFC founder and president David Feldman. “Chris Leben is a legend, he always comes to fight and he’s ready to throw down. Marcel Stamps is one of the most athletic fighters in BKFC, and we expect him to do some big things with the organization. This fight is a statement of how we do things at BKFC. The best fight the best!”

“I’m excited to be part of the BKFC 12 main event in Alabama,” said Leben. “On April 11, I will make Stamps regret he ever got into this. I will knock him out in front of his hometown fans.”

“I have my hometown supporting me and I will not let them down,” said Stamps. “Leben has nothing left. He is old and is nothing more than a name. I will retire him for good!”

Leben returns for his third BKFC fight, having previously knocked out Justin Baesman at BKFC 5, before losing a decision to Dakota Cochrane at BKFC 6. Originally from Portland, Oregon and now training out of Chula Vista, California, Leben first emerged onto the scene in the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter before going on to become a WEC Middleweight Champion. A veteran of over 20 UFC events, his career includes a five-fight win streak that led to a challenge of Anderson Silva.

Born in Brantley, Alabama and now fighting out of Birmingham, Stamps will step in for his second BKFC bout after previously knocking out Kendall Grove at BKFC 3. The 34-year-old played linebacker for Nick Saban at the University of Alabama from 2004 through 2008 and played in the CFL before transitioning to combat sports. Stamps competed in Bellator prior to debuting with BKFC in 2018.

Gabriel Gonzaga knocks out Silva in Bare Knuckle battle

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) returned Saturday night at Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment Hall in Tampa, Fla. as former UFC star Gabriel Gonzaga knocked out Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in a heavyweight attraction that headlined BKFC 8.

Midway through the second round, Gonzaga landed a right hand that dropped Silva to the canvas. Silva made it to his feet, but he appeared to never fully recover as Gonzaga took advantage of the opportunity, landing a combination of vicious shots that knocked down Silva a second time. Referee Wayne Spinola intervened to stop the action 1:50 in to the second round.

“I worked my combinations,” said Gonzaga. “I know I used a lot of my speed and my jab worked well. When I saw an opportunity, I threw my hands and that was it.

“I loved this victory because it was a lot to do with boxing, and it was even better with no gloves on,” continued Gonzaga.

When asked about his future plans to return to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship Gonzaga concluded, “I’m a really simple guy. If you pay me the right price, then I’m here to do whatever needs to be done.”

Photo/courtesy: BKFC/Phil Lambert

Malignaggi on bare-knuckle boxing: ‘I kind of liked the adrenaline rush and it was different, but I am done’

UFC veteran Artem Lobov defeated former boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi via unanimous decision in the main event of the most talked about bare knuckle fight to date in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship “BKFC 6: The Line is Drawn.” The 154-pound fight was a perfect storm of drama as Malignaggi’s longstanding “beef” with UFC mega-star Connor McGregor led him to facing McGregor’s stable mate and friend Lobov in Lobov’s second straight BKFC fight.

Brooklyn’s Malignaggi and Lobov, came to blows in the ring after several months of back-and-forth animosity between them on social media and in person. Both fighters showed their own strengths throughout the fight by trying to strategically outperform the other in what was a close battle in front of a sold out crowd of 4,500 enthusiastic fans from Florida Expo Hall in Tampa live on pay-per-view.

Malignaggi and Lobov showed their resistance to engage immediately, with Malignaggi confusing Lobov with his defense and foot speed. As the fight evolved, Lobov continued to come forward and pressure Malignaggi and although Maliganggi landed jabs and check hooks, it only seemed a matter of time before Lobov’s pressure got the best of him. Lobov continued to throw punches at closer range, which allowed the Russian Irishman begin to dominate. By the third round Malignaggi was cut and on his heels as the momentum had swung to Lobov.

As the action increased in rounds four and five, Lobov began the aggressor and scored the more effective punches. In the end, the judges scored the contest for Lobov 48-47 unanimously.

“This was an emotional fight for me,” said Lobov. “I started more on back foot than usual, but still pressed and stalked him. Even though many people talk a lot about fighting and Paulie had a lot to say, he showed up to fight so I respect him for that. The feud is over and we move on. I am happy I was victorious tonight and I can focus back on my family and my son. It’s all about him now.”

“I am not sure what the judges were looking at, but I felt like he walked into a lot of my jabs and check left hooks,” said Malignaggi, who may have broken his hand during the fight. “Maybe it’s beneath me, but I thought I would give it a shot, give him a shot. Maybe I was wrong. I am 38 years old so I am not interested in campaigning or competing in Bare Knuckle against this loss. I kind of liked the adrenaline rush and it was different, but I am done.”

Photo Credit: Phil Lambert


Malignaggi to compete in Bare Knuckle Boxing

Former two-division world champion boxer and boxing commentator Paulie Malignaggi has signed an exclusive deal to compete for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC). Malignaggi is expected to make his BKFC debut in June 2019 at a location yet to be determined.

“This is great signing for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship,” said BKFC Founder and President David Feldman. “At this time in our company’s growth, we needed to add a legitimate and well-established world champion boxer to our roster, and I believe with Paulie’s ability and personality we’ve done just that. Paulie is the perfect fit for us.”

“BKFC is the new wave in combat sports. They’re doing great things and I’m very excited to be a part of this organization,” said Malignaggi. “I’ve accomplished some big things in boxing career, and I look forward to what this next phase brings. After a long boxing career, it’s easy to miss the limelight and the rush that combat brings. I look forward to getting back in action and the new challenge of fighting for BKFC.”

Malignaggi, a 38-year-old native of Brooklyn, NY, battled some of the top names in the super lightweight and welterweight divisions as a professional boxer. In June 2007, Malignaggi defeated Lovemore N’dou by unanimous decision to capture the IBF Super Lightweight Title. Malignaggi defended that title twice before losing the belt to Ricky Hatton in November 2008. In April 2012, Malignaggi won his second world title, defeating Vyacheslav Senchenko by technical knockout to secure the WBA Welterweight Title. He successfully defended the WBA title once before suffering a split decision loss to Adrien Broner in June 2013.

During his professional boxing career, Malignaggi amassed an impressive record of 36 – 8, with seven of his victories coming by way of knockout. A winner of three out of his last four boxing contests, Malignaggi last fought professionally in March 2017 in a loss to Sam Eggington. In mid-2017, Malignaggi worked briefly as a sparring partner for Conor McGregor as McGregor prepared to face undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather later that year.