On Saturday, June 22nd, the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship will hold one of their biggest events to date as they unleash BKFC 6: The Line is Drawn live from the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Florida. This bare knuckle spectacle features a main event fight between former boxing world champ Paulie Malignaggi and former UFC MMA veteran Artem Lobov. This fight has all the makings of a brutal affair as both men have shown a genuine disdain for each other in the build-up to their fight.
Also on the card is a co-main event fight featuring another UFC vet in Chris Leben taking on Dakota Cochrane. Additionally, BKFC will be crowning their first lightweight champion as Reggie Barnett and Johnny Bedford fight for the title. In total, there are seven main card fights and a handful of prelim bouts.
BKFC 6: The Line is Drawn will stream their prelim fights on Facebook Live and FITE-TV beginning at 8 PM ET. The main card will begin at 9 PM ET and will be live on PPV for a price tag of $39.99.
MMA betting sites have limited odds for this event. Let’s take a look at these odds, identify their potential betting value, and KO our picks.
BKFC 6: The Line is Drawn Main Card
Elvin Leon Brito vs Jim Alers
Abdiel Velazquez vs Travis Thompson
Tom Shoaff vs Julian Lane
Joey Beltran vs Jamie Campbell
Reggie Barnett Jr. vs Johnny Bedford
Chris Leben vs Dakota Cochrane
Paulie Malignaggi vs Artem Lobov
Reggie Barnett vs Johnny Bedford
Reggie Barnett (+115)
Johnny Bedford (-145)
Both men come into this matchup with bare knuckle experience and additional combat sports experience. However, MyBookie feels that Bedford is the favorite for this lightweight tournament finals fight.
Reggie Barnett Jr. posted a 3-3 MMA record and a 6-2 boxing record during his professional combat sports career. That’s after an impressive 92-fight amateur career. He signed with BKFC to show off his skills, especially in the hand-to-hand department. Barnett does have some speed and power, despite what his opponent Bedford says. Barnett believes he found his calling with BKFC and wants to make history by becoming the inaugural lightweight champ.
In his last fight, Barnett took on Rusty Crowder that saw Reggie win via UD after five rounds of Crowder running away from his opponent. BKFC President David Feldman shocked the live fight fans by getting into the ring after the fight and docking Crowder half of his pay for running. Feldman declared that if you don’t fight, then you don’t get paid. I don’t see that happening in this fight because both Barnett and Bedford won’t shy away from the brutality.
As for his opponent, Barnett made the following prediction, as reported by World Boxing News:
“I know Johnny is a gamer who likes to come forward, he taunts his opponents, and he hits hard. I think we’re both coming for each other. The initial clash is going to be hard and exciting. But at the same time, my hands are educated. We’ll see whose skill shines through in this matchup. I can brawl. I can box. I can do it all. Johnny can only do one thing, brawl. That’s it. When I get in there, it’s my life or his life, and I like to breathe.”
Bedford brings into this fight a lengthy MMA career that saw him go 22-14-1 with 1 NC. He’s fought for numerous MMA promotions including the UFC. His run with the world’s top MMA promotion lasted from 2011 to 2014 where he went 2-3 and 1 NC. Bedford’s notable highlight came in a loss during the semifinals of TUF: Team Bisping vs. Team Miller.
Bedford has gone 3-0 with BKFC and is on the verge of becoming the first fighter to win his first four fights within the promotion. If he can improve to 4-0, then he will also become the lightweight champ, which is something he really wants. Johnny feels that capturing this title will add prestige and credibility to his overall combat sports career.
Like with Barnett, Bedford also fought on BKFC 5 and won. However, Johnny KO’d his opponent in the fourth round of the fight. As for facing Barnett, Bedford had the following comments:
“Reggie moves well, and he’s a fast, athletic and experienced boxer. What he doesn’t do is, he can’t bust a grape. He has won all of his fights by decision. If he couldn’t finish those guys, he’s not finishing me. I give him credit for being a good boxer, but he’s not as tough as me. I’m going to move forward, and I can finish him. But I think I’ll have to cut him off, chase him down and touch him up. I think it’ll be a fourth-round stoppage for me. I’ll hit him more times than he’ll be able to handle. I’m not out there to win decisions. I’m coming to knock him out.”
Who Will Become the Lightweight Champ?
If this was a pure boxing match, then I would give Barnett the edge as he’s the better striker. But, like Bedford said, Barnett hasn’t put away any of his opponents. He’s been winning via UD. Bedford is a nasty fighter with a nasty disposition inside the ring. He’s also been knocking out his opponents.
I like his prediction of a fourth-round stoppage. I think that’s about accurate. Barnett might be able to extend it to the fifth round, but I have a hard time thinking that this fight ends in anything other than a stoppage. I’m going with Bedford to win via TKO.
BKFC Bet: Johnny Bedford (-145)
Chris Leben vs Dakota Cochrane
Chris Leben (-135)
Dakota Cochrane (+105)
Leben was initially booked to take on Brennan Ward, but Ward was removed from the event and Dakota Cochrane has been scheduled to face Leben.
Chris Leben is a former MMA fighter who used to thrill fans inside the UFC for many years. His excitingly wild brawls made him a very popular fighter with fans and the promoter. Leben retired from MMA in 2014. He tried to come back in 2016 with Bellator, but health issues prevented that from happening. Last year, Leben decided to enter the Bare Knuckle scene. He fought with World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF) last November and won his first fight. With a taste for bare knuckle success and a long resume of MMA experience, Leben decided that bare knuckle was his new vehicle for destruction.
Leben debuted with BKFC in April. He knocked out Justin Baesman in less than 30 seconds. It was a fight contested at 205 pounds, and it reminded fight sports fans just how dangerous Leben was. Chris is preparing for his upcoming fight like he did in MMA, but focusing mostly on footwork and striking. Keep in mind, Leben is a brown-belt in jiu-jitsu, so he was an MMA practitioner that preferred striking. Now, he gets to strike without gloves and do what he loves.
Chris Leben was already preparing for Ward and a bloodbath. Now, he will face Cochrane, and it should end up in the same result.
Although Dakota didn’t have the same hype coming into BKFC as Ward did, he’s just as dangerous. Cochrane is a modestly successful MMA fighter with a solid record of 32-11. He fought in M-1 Global on April 4th, and won via first-round submission. This was five months after his bare knuckle debut with the WBKFF last November. Ironically, Cochrane had to replace Ward on that card as well. But Cochrane arguably had the biggest performance of the night. He took on for UFC welterweight champ Johny Hendricks in the co-main event and defeated him via second-round KO.
Combat Press states Cochrane commented on his bare knuckle debut against Hendricks and how it came about at the last minute:
“I got to the venue and stuff, and then they said [Johny] Hendricks’ opponent pulled out – that was [Brennan] Ward. So, I said I’d take it, after we negotiated money. I got that fight, and Hendricks agreed to it. It was pretty awesome. I think he thought he was going to just come in and run me over. I seem to do better with those guys who are overconfident. I knew if I could touch him with my right hand – I knew bare knuckle would work well for me, because I never wrap my hands – because I’ve been training my hands, and they’re solid. Since day one, I never wear wraps.”
In another bit of irony, that’s the same card that Leben had his first bare knuckle fight on and also won. Leben defeated UFC veteran Phil Baroni via first round TKO. Now, the two MMA veterans will take on each other in the co-main event of the BKFC 6.
Which MMA Veteran Comes out on Top?
This is going to be a tough fight. Both men have been professionally competing in combat sports for a long time. I was very impressed with Cochrane’s showing against Hendricks. It’s why I think he will be a tougher opponent this weekend at BKFC 6 than Ward would have been.
Both men offer betting value at these odds, but I would make sure to check them throughout the week to see if they change.
As for the winner, I’m going with Leben. I need to see more of Cochrane as a striker than just one fight, although that was a very impressive fight. I’m more confident in Leben as a striker than Cochrane, so I’m taking Leben to win via TKO. There’s no way that this fight will last five rounds.
BKFC Bet: Chris Leben (-135)
Paulie Malignaggi vs Artem Lobov
Paulie Malignaggi (-135)
Artem Lobov (+105)
On paper, one would think that this matchup should heavily favor the boxer and not the MMA fighter. However, MMA betting sites feel that this fight is a lot closer and that Malignaggi is only a small betting favorite.
Coming into this fight, there is a lot of bad blood. And I expect there to be a lot of spilled blood in the ring come Saturday night. This feud stems back from Malignaggi’s time attempting to help train Conor McGregor for his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017.
What’s at the heart of contention is a video clip where Malignaggi hit the canvas during a sparring session. Paulie claims he was pushed and that the video was edited to make him look bad. In other words, he believes that he was set up to look like a lump. McGregor’s camp states that Paulie was knocked down. Furthermore, McGregor’s camp released a video and numerous interviews about how he floored Malignaggi. Here’s a clip from the alleged incident:
Over the last two years, Malignaggi has carried on the grudge toward Team McGregor of which Lobov is affiliated with. At the April press conference for this fight, Malignaggi and Lobov got into a heated altercation. Both men were very charged up and came face to face during the presser. Malignaggi slapped Lobov in the face and chaos ensued.
The slap added even more excitement to a fight that was being hyped nicely. In fact, most pundits and fans believe that this will be BKFC’s highest grossing PPV in their one-year existence due to the main event. Since the slap, these two fighters have been exchanging public insults, and even Conor McGregor has gotten involved on social media as he does his best to irritate Paulie. Their second presser ended in a frenzy as well. Malignaggi spit in Lobov’s face and said that if Artem’s mom was there, then he would’ve spit on her too.
BKFC6 | June 22nd | LIVE from Tampa, FL
Former boxing world champion Paulie Malignaggi will take on former UFC star Artem Lobov to settle the score in a true test of Boxing vs. MMA only on Pay Per View!
Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi comes into this fight making his bare knuckle debut. He’s a former world champion boxer with a professional record of 36-8. He retired from boxing in March 2017 after losing to Eggington. Since then, Paulie has excelled as a commentator and has become much more enjoyable than when he was a boxer. In his 36 wins, only seven have come via KO/TKO.
Paulie has a big advantage in striking skills, but Lobov is expected to have the power and grit advantages. With that said, “The Magic Man” tells MMA Junkie that he isn’t shy on how he thinks this fight will go:
“This is going to be a painful night for Artem. This is a world-class fighter against a punching bag with feet. He’s going to be very stubborn, but he’s going to get hit nonetheless. I think you’re going to see that I’m a different class of fighter. I’ve been a champion, and I’ve been in the ring with many champions. He doesn’t have that experience. You’ll see what difference that makes on fight night. This fight ends with Lobov’s face falling off. I’m going to cut him up. I hope he lasts, because I want to beat him down round after round.”
Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov has a professional MMA record of 13-15-1 with 1 NC. He lost his last three fights before being released by the UFC. Shortly after his octagon release, Lobov signed a three-fight contract with BKFC. Lobov’s first fight was on BKFC in April, and he defeated Jason Knight via UD in a bloody five-round war. If you include his BKFC win, then his pro record improved to 14-15-1.
Lobov’s issues with Malignaggi have only intensified since they agreed to fight each other. However, way back in 2017 after the McGregor sparring video was released, Lobov stated he wanted to box Malignaggi and kept calling Paulie a “diva.” So, this feud with Paulie is more than just a McGregor sparring video. It’s Team McGregor versus Malignaggi.
Will Lobov’s Face Fall Off?
So, Lobov’s face won’t actually fall off as Malignaggi claims, but it will get brutalized. If you have seen videos and images from Lobov’s last fight with Knight, his face was gruesome. Now, imagine a former world champ boxer hitting that face for multiple rounds.
Yes, Malignaggi has been out of boxing for two years, but that doesn’t mean he’s not prepared for this bareknuckle fighting match. He’s been training for at least two to three months and didn’t forget his boxing skills. Furthermore, he is going to have a six-inch reach advantage over Lobov (71” to 65”). That’s a big deal when considering how this fight will turn out.
Lobov’s best chance is to cut off Malignaggi and make this a phone booth fight with power shots. Malignaggi’s best chance is to fight from a distance and pick apart Lobov.
For this bet, I’m going with Malignaggi to win. I believe his world-class boxing skills will shine against an average MMA fighter who’s not known for being an elite striker. Lobov is tough and will show us his chin. But that’s not going to be enough to win this fight.
I believe Malignaggi is going to beat up Lobov for as long as the fight lasts. I believe Lobov is tough enough to go the distance, but I lean towards Malignaggi getting the TKO win. I just don’t see how a former world junior welterweight and welterweight champ doesn’t win a striking contest over an average MMA fighter.
BKFC Bet: Paulie Malignaggi (-135)
Final Thoughts on BKFC 6: The Line is Drawn
I’ve kept a distant eye on BKFC and the buzz they’ve created over the last year, especially after they signed Leben, who was a UFC fighter that I really enjoyed watching. But this event has definitely caught my attention with Malignaggi versus Lobov. I like the real-life drama, and the fact that the two fighters can settle their rivalry like men. In other words, blood and knuckles will resolve this dispute. If only we could get these so-called social media keyboard warriors into the BFKC like Justin Bieber.
Unless Malignaggi breaks his hand on Lobov’s face and can’t continue, I expect Paulie to win the fight as he was once an elite level boxer. I used to hate Paulie and root against him, but he’s grown on me since becoming a commentator. Plus, I feel that Team McGregor was a little shady with how they handled the sparring session.
I also think the Leben fight against Cochrane will be exciting as well. And let’s not forget that there’s an inaugural crowning of a lightweight champ. BFKC 6: The Line is Drawn offers betting value with the fights above and it also offers entertainment value for the more bloodthirsty fight sports fans.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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