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