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BKFC 6: Malignaggi v. Lobov – Analyzing the grudge match between two intense fighters

The Boxing and MMA join together for what is sure to be a violent fight.

With all that is going on this weekend, from Bellator 223 in London to UFC Greenville to Jermell Charlo fighting Jorge Cota, who knew a Bare-Knuckle Boxing event would grab all of the headlines?

Worlds collide as former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi faces off against Artem Lobov at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 6. Taking place in Tampa, Florida tonight (June 22), the heat will literally be turned up as two guys who genuinely hate one another try and Ivan Drago their opponent.

An Unholy Union

The clash of styles (MMA and boxing) may not be that appealing to fans of either sport, but the story surrounding the fight might be. Of course, it all started when Paulie and Conor were sparring partners in preparation for the latter’s bout against Floyd Mayweather. Controversy as to how the sparring went down (Paulie getting knocked down multiple times) have led to both camps confronting one another.

The buildup to the fight has been worth the hefty price on the FITE app. Both have a score to settle, even if everything surrounds the reputation of McGregor. Speaking at the BKFC press conference prior to the fight, neither Paulie or Lobov held back on their thoughts on one another, proclaiming they would bash one another into the ground.

Paulie, always a showman, hasn’t made things easy, first slapping then spitting on Lobov. Marketing strategy, or mind games?

The Goat Preparing For War?

Lobov (13-5-1, 1NC MMA), had an unspectacular run with the UFC, losing three in a row before being released from his contract. He was then signed to BFKC, beating Jason Knight via unanimous decision in his first BFKC fight.

While Lobov isn’t as credible of a fighter as those are making the “G.O.A.T.” out to be, he is still a wild brawler with a multitude of skills. With the motivation to break Paulie a key factor, perhaps the bare-knuckle atmosphere is where Artem can find his groove.

“Paulie likes to hide behind the jab and feint,” Lobov stated. “He never lets his hands go. He just hides and tries to make it to the end of the fight. I’m going to let it all go in that ring on June 22. I’m going to be the ‘Russian Hammer’ from the start until the finish. I want to meet him in the ring and put him away like true warriors do.”

Rested Paulie Ready?

While he has spent two+ years away from any ring, Paulie (36-8 boxing) still has that fighter’s mentality. His hands may not be as secure as they once were, but the former Welterweight Champion’s foot movement was a true signature for him. Perhaps that could be an advantage when the two square up.

“This is going to be a painful night for Artem,” Paulie stated during a workout session. “This is a world-class fighter against a punching bag with feet. He’s going to be very stubborn, but he’s going to get hit nonetheless. I think you’re going to see that I’m a different class of fighter. I’ve been a champion and I’ve been in the ring with many champions. He doesn’t have that experience. You’ll see what difference that makes on fight night.”

On the latest episode of The Main Event, Paulie spoke about the lack of respect he has for Artem, and that all he has done will be backed up by his true skills. Saying he is not a promoter, this is as authentic of a person as we will ever get. Will the “real” Paulie Malignaggi back up his antics with the skills that got him wins over the likes of Jose Cotto and Pablo Cesar Cano?

A Show To Remember

This will not be a technical masterpiece at all. Calling this a personal bout, Artem and Paulie have free reign to do what they want to one another. Foot movement may be key, but striking at the right moment will give either fighter the ultimate advantage.

Many give Paulie the edge due to the boxing aspect, but you can’t discount Artem, even with a bad record. Motivation, revenge and a lot of pent-up frustration will be let out in this war. Artem’s durability and activeness may end up giving him the advantage. If by any chance Paulie were to win, expect a profanity-laced promo calling out McGregor.

Prediction: Artem via third-round TKO

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.

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