After failing to win over the judges the last time he fought Artem Lobov, Jason Knight made sure to take it out of their hands.
“Mississippi Mean” picked up a fifth-round knockout of Lobov in the lightweight main event of Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship 9 at Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss., on Saturday to avenge a decision loss from their first meeting this past April. The end came when Knight landed a clean left that appeared to injure Lobov’s eye, prompting the referee to wave off the bout.
Knight got the better of Lobov in the first two rounds, using smart counter-striking and a long jab to keep Lobov at bay. “The Russian Hammer” answered with body work, but couldn’t consistently find a home for his power punches. It was Knight who landed the first knockdown of the bout, which resulted in a short count before Lobov was back in the fight.
Lobov had better success in rounds three and four, but Knight’s punches were doing more visible damage to Lobov’s face.
Less than 30 seconds into round five, Knight landed a sharp left hand to a lunging Lobov, causing Lobov to immediately drop to his knees. As he went over to his corner, the referee checked on his condition and it was clear that Lobov couldn’t continue. The official result was a fifth-round KO win for Knight.
Post-fight, Knight was asked if he’d consider making his series with Lobov a trilogy.
“Of course, if he wants it. I love that guy,” Knight said. “He had a lot of respect for me, I’ve got the same respect for him. I love that man, anytime that he’s not fighting me I’m gonna be rooting him on. Anytime he gets ready to get in here a third time, I’m down.”
For his part, Lobov was more hesitant to commit to a third fight with Knight, though it sounded like the 33-year-old wasn’t ready to make any commitments just yet.
“I have to go back now, it’s always the emotions are very low after a loss,” Lobov said. Especially as this is a stoppage loss, which hurts f*cking double bad for me. It is what it is, you can’t change it and you just have to accept it and move forward.
“I don’t really know what else is in store for me, I have to talk to [BKFC president] David Feldman and see what the story is. Get well and then see what happens.”
During the post-fight interviews, Feldman was waiting in the ring with MMA veteran and unbeaten BKFC fighter Jim Alers to set up a fight with Knight. The two won a Fight of the Night award when they fought at UFC on FOX 20 in July 2016 and Knight said he’d be happy to fight Alers again, preferably at 145 pounds like in their first encounter.
Joey Beltran became the new BKFC heavyweight champion after a back-and-forth battle with incumbent titleholder Chase Sherman. The longer Sherman used his advantage well in the early going, but “The Mexicutioner” kept a steady, consistent pace that Sherman struggled with in the later rounds.
By the end of round three, there was considerable swelling over both of Sherman’s eyes and while he stayed in the pocket with Beltran, he continually found himself backed up against the ropes.
Beltran’s offensive output remained high in the final round and upon the conclusion of the bout, all five judges scored the fight in favor of the challenger.
Charles Bennett’s second BKFC outing went much like his first, with the MMA cult hero bowing out due to a hand injury. Even given the anticlimactic conclusion, credit has to go to Johnny Bedford who was the aggressor for the majority of the bout. Bedford fought a smart fight, getting in and out and landing shots to Bennett’s body before ramping up the pressure in round two. He utilized solid head movement to avoid Bennett’s counter-punches and “Felony” could be seen visibly wincing in pain, either from Bedford’s strikes or the growing damage to his hands.
Near the end of round two, Bennett dropped to his knees in the middle of an exchange and indicated to the referee that he was injured and could not continue, similar to how his BKFC debut ended in August 2018.
Bedford improved to 5-0 in the BKFC ring with his win over Bennett and post-fight he called for a fight with Lobov.
The middle section of the card saw several definitive finishes as Helen Peralta, Kenny Licea, Chris Sarro, and Kaleb Harris all ended their respective bouts before the start of round three.
The main card opener ended awkwardly as Adrian Miles appeared to be out-classing Wes Combs before making a decision that would be more appropriate for the cage than the ring.
Miles had Combs stumbling with a series of punches, but connected with one after Miles had gone to the ground. The bout was waved off and while it initially looked like Miles was the winner by TKO, it was Combs who was instead awarded the victory by disqualification due to the illegal ground strike.
In the lone preliminary bout of the evening, Dillard “Joe” Pegg got the night off to a violent start with a fast finish of Adam Pellerano.
For full BKFC 9 results, click here.