Bare Knuckle 6: The Line is Drawn is coming closer and closer. Today, the promotion had the final press conference between Artem Lobov and Paulie Malignaggi. There has been no love lost between the boxing world champion and the UFC cult star. In the final press conference, things got heated.
“This is the biggest fight of his career and he only got here because he started with me. I’m going to finish it on Saturday,” says Paulie. He recently spit in the face of Lobov at a face off ahead of Bare Knuckle 5. “I’m going to pummel this guy like he stole something. I’m going to teach him some manners. I’ve only been talking because of what his crew started,” he continues. “I don’t think there’s a lot to say that hasn’t already been said. This guy is so nervous he’s not going to know what to do when the bell rings.”
Malignaggi is optimistic about the future of Bare Knuckle boxing, however. The former boxing champ had good things to say about the sport. “This is a growing sport and it was a pleasant surprise to find out the fight would be here in Florida. I have a second home here and spend a lot of time in the state. It feels good to be competing here.”
As for Lobov’s last fight, Paulie didn’t have anything nice to say. If you expected anything else, you haven’t been following lead up to the PPV. “I’m not impressed with Artem’s last fight in BKFC. I thought he blew the fight. I thought everyone would realize how bad he is. I’m definitely not second-guessing myself after seeing that performance.”
On the other hand, Artem Lobov was all business. “The talk is over for me. I’ve said everything I have to say. I just want to get in there with this man on Saturday night and show the world what happens when you run your mouth the way Paulie has.”
Lobov is confident his activity will be key to the fight. “He’s coming off the couch and he’s only here for the money. It’s the truth. Unfortunately for him, he bit off more than he can chew. He’s going to make a nice paycheck, but I’m going to make two holes in his head and go home happy.”
Even though he is usually professional in his fights, the fight with Paulie is personal. “I want to whoop this guy so bad. I actually liked my last opponent and you saw what happened to him.”
Artem also questions Paulie’s age. “Number one, I just want to hurt this guy. I don’t know how much he’s going to be able to take at 40-years-old. He doesn’t have the fire burning in his chest.”
A one fight veteran of BKFC, Lobov is happy to be back in the cage. “It’s great to be here for this event and I’m thankful for everyone who made it happen. I’m going to put on a spectacular performance Saturday night.”
Leben vs. Cochrane
The co-main event boast the return of Chris Leben as he takes on Dakota Cochrane on short notice. Cochrane replaces Brennan Ward as Ward had to pull out due to injury. Cochrane is coming off a bare knuckle bout win over former UFC champ, Johny Hendricks.”My opponent is aggressive and a quick starter. I’ve seen him start and finish fights fast, so I have to be ready for that,” says Leben. He continues, “At the last minute we had to switch opponents, so hats off to the Dakota [Cochrane] for stepping in. I have seen him do this before as the replacement.” He contines, “I saw him do it to Johny Hendricks and I fought right after that fight. I know what this guy is capable of.” So you see it there. No overlooking Cochrane for Leben.
“Cochrane definitely poses some interesting threats. He’s not what I was training for. He’s nothing like my last opponent because he has a different style. He hits a lot harder and comes forward. I am going to have to rely a lot on what I think are my veteran abilities to make these adjustments and go out there and perform Saturday night.”
Needless to say, Leben wants to put on a show. “We both go hard and leave it all in the ring and I think this is going to be one to watch for sure.” He goes on, “All you have to do is look at the tape and watch me fight. I don’t need to talk about my opponent, because everyone knows what I’m going to do Saturday night. You’re going to see more of the same in that ring.”
Cochrane, on the other hand, is not worried about the short notice and the caliber of opponent. “Being a last-minute replacement is not a big deal for me. I’ve taken last-minute fights a lot in my career and done well, so this is nothing new.” As Leben said, he just wants to put on a show. “I’m going to come out and fight hard. Bare knuckle is super interesting to me. I think I was built for it, so I appreciate the opportunity.”
There isn’t much to Cochrane’s game plan however, just stand and bang. “It’s going to be a hell of a fight. He’s going to throw hard and I’m going to throw hard. So, let’s see who comes out on top.”
He has an uphill battle and he knows it. “Leben has size and power and I’ll be ready for it. I know what he’s capable of and we’ve used the time we had in camp to be at our very best for it.”
Reggie Barnett vs. Johnny Bedford
In the next fight on the card, Reggie Barnett plans to go down in Bare Knuckle history. “I’m going to be the first lightweight bare knuckle champion in history. That’s it. It’s that simple. That’s my mindset.”
Barnett doesn’t see many places where Bedford has him beat. He has the skill, he has the speed. “The only advantage Johnny has over me is his size, but I have everything else in my arsenal that’s going to make this my night.”
It’s still all love from Reggie Barnett who is thankful for his opportunity to fight on this big of a card.”I want to thank David Feldman for this opportunity. I’ve been here since the tryout in Philadelphia. I wasn’t given my spot, I earned it. I’ve been through this tournament, I’ve shown up every time and never had one lackluster performance.
He’s ready for the show. He hopes Bedford wants the heat as well. “I have never made any excuses for my performances and everyone knows what they can expect from me on Saturday night. I just hope Johnny Bedford is ready for it too.”
Bedford says, “Barnett can’t finish anybody. It doesn’t matter how much time he has, he doesn’t hit hard and I’m too tough.” He believes his durability and size are his advantages in this fight.”I’m not too worried about what Barnett brings to the table. I’m too big and too strong for him.”
As for the pressure of the situation, it’s all gravy for Bedford. “We’re fighting for a pretty big title, the first of its kind. That belt is coming back with me to Texas, I can promise you that.” He continues, “I’m really excited about this. This has been a fight that has been in fruition for a year now. Reggie and I both fought on the first BKFC card. We went together collectively to make this tournament happen and here we are a year later.”
History is on the line, and Bedford knows it. He’s here for the show. “We are going to find out who the baddest man at 135-pounds is. I put my work in, he put his work in. The talking is done. I’m ready to put on a show Saturday night and leave it all out there for sure. The fans are going to win on Saturday night.”
David Feldman, Bare Knuckle FC President and Founder
David Feldman is excited to be the next promotion to bring the boxing vs. MMA event to the next stage. “This is boxing vs. MMA, fighting in the middle ground. Who will win? Is it the pure boxer in Malignaggi, or the rough, tough guy in Lobov? We’re going to find out on Saturday night. Make sure you tune in to this epic event.”
Feldman is proud of his team and all of the hard work they’ve put in. “We’ve been working really hard and our team has been working really hard this past year and now one year later, we’re the most talked about sporting event around. The combat sporting event of the summer of 2019 is Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. Feldman is super excited on the size and magnitude of this card as well. “This card is truly stacked from top to bottom. A lot of promoters say they have a great card, but every fight on this card can be the fight of the night.”
“To be able to be here in the state of Florida, promoting an event of this magnitude really says something about the vision we have and the team we have surrounding us. We’re happy about that,” says Feldman.
“With this fight, we have two guys that genuinely have dislike for each other and they each think they have a good reason to have that dislike. The whole world is watching right now to see how it plays out.”