A date has been set for the grudge match between Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi, as Bare Knuckle FC is heading to New Hampshire in June and bringing that battle as its presumed headliner.
The location was first mentioned by Malignaggi on an interview with Las Vegas Sports Network on Thursday. BKFC President David Feldman later confirmed with MMA Fighting that the event would be held in the state of New Hampshire on June 22. While a city has not yet been selected, the organization is reportedly considering Manchester. Previously, the promotion has held events in Cheyenne, Wyo., Biloxi, Miss, and Cancun, Mexico.
Malignaggi has bantered with members of Conor McGregor's camp like Lobov the past few years, and tensions mounted when the two met in April. They engaged in a very heated confrontation at a media event, where Malignaggi quizzed Lobov on what the five fingers said to the face.
Lobov made his bare knuckle debut at BKFC 5 this April, where he engaged in a tremendous brawl with fellow former UFC competitor Jason Knight to capture a decision. Prior to that bout, Lobov was released by the Ultimate Fighting Championship after suffering three straight decision losses to Cub Swanson, Andre Fili and Michael Johnson. Prior to his stint with the Las Vegas-based organization, he competed on "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 22, where he lost in the finals to Ryan Hall.
The two-time boxing champ Malignaggi retired in March 2017 with a record of 36-8 after suffering a knockout loss to Sam Eggington. After departing active competition, he served as a commentator for several networks at multiple major boxing events. A short-term sparring partner of McGregor while the Irishman was preparing to face Floyd Mayweather, the allure of fighting Lobov and potentially McGregor himself in the bare knuckle ring brought him out of retirement.
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