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BKFC 6 results: Artem Lobov earns unanimous decision over Paulie Malignaggi in bare knuckle brawl

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Artem Lobov officially has bragging rights.

A nasty rivalry that included an unprovoked slap and a spit to the face ended with Lobov getting the last laugh as he came away victorious over retired boxer Paulie Malignaggi after five hard fought rounds. The former UFC featherweight got the nod with 48-47 scorecards across the board from the judges.

“It was an emotional fight, As a result, I came in a little bit on the back foot more than usual but I still pressed, I was still stalking him. That’s a nice decision win for me,” Lobov said following the win.

“To me, there is many people out there that talk a lot of s—t and then they don’t show up. Paulie he shows up. You can like him or hate him, but in terms of being a fighter, he showed up that time to the spar, both of them, and he showed up tonight to fight. So I always respect the fighter for that.”

Both fighters were tentative early not looking to give an inch in a highly volatile rivalry but Malignaggi started to find his range once the second round got underway. An experienced boxer, Malignaggi began landing his jab and then digging to the body on Lobov, who was throwing huge looping punches in return but not finding a home for his shots.

With Lobov doing his best to close the distance, he still couldn’t connect with his target while Malignaggi was content tossing out his lead jab and then using good head movement and footwork to avoid taking damage.

After a frustrating couple of rounds, Lobov started to turn the corner in the third and fourth as he started charging at Malignaggi with more and more aggression. Malignaggi was still trying to make it a pure boxing match while Lobov was gunning for the knockout with every punch thrown.

Lobov managed to connect with a series of punches inside the clinch that busted Malignaggi open as the retired boxer was forced to wipe blood from his eyes. At the end of the round, Malignaggi walked back to his corner with a huge gash opened up on his eyebrow.

The final two minutes saw Lobov going after Malignaggi once again as he tried to overwhelm the 38-year old New York native with every combination. Malignaggi made him miss with most of his power punches but he wasn’t doing much in return, which likely cost him the decision win after five rounds.

While he hugged Lobov in the ring and seemingly put the rivalry behind them, Malignaggi still felt like he deserved the win but ultimately decided that his brief foray into bare knuckle boxing was over.

“Maybe just maybe this wasn’t meant to be,” Malignaggi said. “I’m 38 years old. I’m too old to start campaigning off of a loss. I would have done this again. I would have considered coming back. I thought I was winning pretty easily. I’m done.”