There has been a growing trend over the past few years of MMA fighter’s being lured into competing in bare knuckle boxing fights by rising promotions looking to bring this historic form of combat back into the limelight.
In this article we’ll look at how 10 MMA stars have fared in the brutal and unforgiving world of bare knuckle boxing, from backyard fights through to officially sanctioned prize-fights.
Artem Lobov vs. Jason Knight
Ex-UFC fighter’s Artem Lobov and Jason Knight’s headlining fight at Bare Knuckle FC 5 earlier this month had extra spice due to the fact that a win for ‘The Russian Hammer’ would set up a grudge match with retired boxing star Paulie Malignaggi.
In fact, during fight week it was the rivalry between Lobov and Malignaggi (which stems from Lobov being a friend and training partner of the boxer’s rival Conor McGregor) that was grabbing all the headlines, with the two having engaged in a war of words during a media day, which led to ‘Magic Man’ slapping him in the face.
However, come fight night it was the thrilling all-action fight between Lobov and Knight that got everybody talking.
It was a bloody barnburner that within the first 15 seconds had already seen Lobov dropped by a left hook, only to then put knight down a minute later, knocking out one of his opponent’s teeth in the process.
Even at this stage Knight was already bleeding from multiple cuts to his face, but there was no quit in him and he kept scrapping despite being dropped again in both the second and third rounds.
By the fifth round both men were soaked in blood and it was Knight who was coming on strong as Lobov began to run out of steam, but he made it to the final bell and would ultimately be declared the winner by unanimous decision.
The fight was hailed as an instant bare knuckle classic and sets up the biggest fight in the sport to date between Lobov and Malignaggi.