The anticipated Artem Lobov vs. Paulie Malignaggi match-up in Bare Knuckle FC has its date and location.
Well, sort of.
Bare Knuckle FC president David Feldman told MMA Fighting that Lobov and Malignaggi will face off on June 22, 2019, from somewhere in the State of New Hampshire. A city and venue have not been officially named, although Manchester is a possible locale.
It’s an interesting location considering the last three Bare Knuckle FC events have gone down in Mississippi after they originally debuted in Wyoming. Malignaggi discussed the location Thursday in an interview with Helen Yee of LV Sports Network.
The date was an expected one, however. Lobov earned the fight with rival Malignaggi by defeating Jason Knight in a bloody war in the main event of April 6’s Bare Knuckle FC 5 from Biloxi. The fan favorite (or some would say GOAT) often talked about the June 22 date for the fight even though it was a quick turnaround.
Malignaggi’s rivalry with Lobov and his good friend Conor McGregor, of course, goes back to the former boxing champion’s infamous sparring sessions with ‘The Notorious’ two years ago. It was ramped up to an all-new level when Malignaggi slapped Lobov at a media event in New York City. “The Russian Hammer” told MMA Fighting he would not fight back at that time because he needed Malignaggi healthy for the actual fight:
“I need Paulie. I need him wrapped up in bubble wrap, I need him there on June 22, that’s when the provisional date has been set. That’s when I need him. That’s when we get to go at it. Then, we’ll see what happens.”
Malignaggi has been angling for a fight with McGregor for years. He’ll have to settle for the next best thing in Lobov. He’s treating it like a bitter rivalry, too, as Malignaggi told Luke Thomas on The MMA Hour that he wants to permanently hurt him:
“I’m gonna use his face like a dartboard,” Malignaggi said. “It’s not about winning and losing here, because it’s not even a question that I’m gonna win the fight. It’s about how bad I can hurt this guy. For me, if I don’t hurt him to a degree that there’s something permanent there, it’s not a win for me.”
Brutal stuff, just like the pure flesh-on-flesh violence of BKFC. This will be their biggest bout ever, and it’s going down quite soon. Who’s your pick to emerge victoriously?