For a promoter, having the right fighters available at the right time is the perfect scenario for them. However, to have 4 fighters that you have a plethora of ways to match up in multiple bouts that make sense competitively, and financially no matter how you end up booking them is the proverbial promoter’s wet dream. Well someone may want to buy Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President David Feldman some new sheets because he is living that dream right now.
You see, there are four fighters on his roster that are able to be matched up against each other in what based on what we have seen from all four inside the BKFC ring previously could all be exciting fights that will draw crowds and cash for everyone involved. The fans will get treated to action-packed bouts, the fighters will all take home hefty purses, and BKFC will continue to gain credibility in the combat sports world.
The man that seems to be the straw that is stirring this pot is the face of the organization Artem Lobov, everyone wants a piece of him, and the ones we will discuss in this article all have valid yet different reasons for thinking that they are the right guy to face Lobov next.
Jason Knight: He has already faced Lobov at BKFC5. These two men put BKFC on their backs on the night of April 6th and truly elevated the promotion to a different level when they waged war inside Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Coliseum. This fight was to BKFC what Stephen Bonner vs Forrest Griffin was for the UFC, it was the fight that changed the future of the UFC. One day we will look back at Lobov vs Knight and see that it did that for BKFC, it’s just too soon to realize it today.
These 2 men left it all in the ring, including blood and lots of it. Not to mention a piece of their souls were left behind that night. 5 rounds of battle went down and neither man was willing to give an inch to the other. At the end of the contest, the judges gave the unanimous decision victory to Lobov, which did not go over well with the crowd in Biloxi as they were rooting for their hometown hero in Knight.
Some feel the judges got it wrong, including Knight and he wants to run it back in the worst way. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see that fight again in hopes that it would live up to the last one, or exceed it? However, there is one thing that makes it a bit difficult to book this fight, Knight is 0-1 at BKFC whereas Lobov is now 2-0, and there are other undefeated guys that have valid claims to get Lobov. Knight could possibly be 1-1 had he not sustained a rib injury and had to pull out of his scheduled BKFC 7 fight against Leonard Garcia, which had he won more than likely he would have gotten the Lobov rematch. Garcia needed an opponent and BKFC needed to save the main event, stepping up on short notice was UFC veteran and 1-0 BKFC fighter Jim Alers.
Alers who now would like to be known as Jim “The Bare Knuckle Beast” Alers replaced Knight in the fight, and in reality the pecking order of matchups. Alers made his debut for BKFC in Tampa at BKFC 6 Lobov vs Malignaggi this past June when he took on a familiar foe from the MMA world in Elvin Leon Brito. It didn’t take long for Alers to acclimate to his new job as he unleashed a barrage of punches that left Brito on the canvas in a mere 45 seconds. This coming from a fighter that was known more for his BJJ in the MMA world, and not a feared striker, although it’s hard to believe that after seeing him destroy Brito the way he did, but wait there’s more!
Alers picked up right where he left off when he met Garcia at BKFC 7 earlier this month in Biloxi. Marching forward and again firing off punches that had deadly intent behind them right from the opening bell, it was clear that Garcia was not going to last long. In this fight, Alers needed a bit more time to stop Garcia. He doubled his ring time scoring the TKO win at one minute and thirty-eight seconds of the first round, giving him his second brutal win, and the distinction of being the only man to TKO/KO Garcia in his career.
After taking out Garcia, Alers immediately called out Lobov referring to him as “Conor McGregor’s little henchman”. Alers was slated to fight McGregor when they both were on the roster at Cage Warriors however, McGregor didn’t defend his title not once but twice when booked with Alers. So there is a history there with Lobov’s team, and famous teammate, adding a backstory to an already very intriguing fight. Alers like Lobov is 2-0 and this would be a great match to make, and a perfect opportunity to introduce another title for BKFC.
Speaking of titles the fourth man in this cluster “Brutal” Johnny Bedford already holds gold at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, as he is the promotional and Police Gazette American Bare Knuckle Lightweight Champion and at 4-0 with gold around his waist, he is a bit miffed that it’s Lobov, and not him that is regarded as the face of the organization. In his mind it seems to be the that best way to become the face for him is to break the face of he who is the face, in this case, that is Lobov.
Bedford has been on a tear since joining the promotion and turning in his MMA gloves for the rawness of bare-knuckle fighting. When he joined BKFC he told President David Feldman that he would be the star of the company, and has delivered with 4 wins and is now ready for a big push and the payday that comes along with it.
As far as who is the face that runs the place, Bedford a veteran of the combat sports world understands the business of promotion, and while he feels he should be getting more recognition for what he has done from his 1st day at work, he understands why the promotion has latched on to Lobov. While he is part of Conor McGregor’s inner circle, he has grown a worldwide cult-like fanbase and is willing to go to war as evidenced by his appearances in the ring since leaving the UFC in his rearview mirror. However, make no mistake, Bedford is ready, willing and deserving of the prime time booking with Lobov which would require him to move up in weight, which he has stated on numerous occasions that he has no problem doing, especially if the result gets him the recognition he feels he should already be getting based on what he’s already done.
What makes all of this so interesting is that you could literally book any of these men together in numerous bouts. No matter how these four men are booked in their next bouts, we will get excellent fights. For me, I would book Alers vs Lobov and put the title on the line. I just think it is the fight that makes the most sense right now. Bedford vs Lobov would be my next booking choice because I feel the guy that has gold and is willing to make the move up to take out the star of the company should get what he wants.. Knight would be my third choice due strictly to the fact that he is 0-1 as a bare-knuckle fighter, that’s it. I know he will bring and leave it all in the ring if he gets the rematch, he wants that win back, especially since he felt he won the first one.
Artem Lobov is a wanted man, he has a target on his back and his possible opponents are all laser-focused and convinced that they will be the one to put the GOAT out to pasture if they win the Lobov lottery. Also of note, Lobov has not stated who he wants next, and I am sure that when he does, or if he already has, Feldman will have to take Lobov’s wishes into consideration.
Normally one would never want to step into the shoes of a fight promoter. With that being said I would not be upset if I were in the shoes of BKFC President David Feldman today who has a decision to make, and no matter which way he goes it’s going to be a win for the fighters, the fans and for Bare-knuckle Fighting Championship.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.