Saturday was a very busy night for martial arts fans and there was a bit of everything to see.
The UFC put a card in Greenville, SC, which virtually forged under the radar after the campaign had to scramble to Find a Main Event before finally settling a springweight competition between "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung and Renato Moicano.
Bellator traveled to London for a map formed by a midweight fight, such as Rafael Lovato Jr. pulled out one of the year's biggest upsets when he fell Gegard Mousasi in a five round match.
And finally, there was much talk about the Just Knuckle Fighting Championships 6 event, which featured the main event between former UFC fighter Artem Lobov and retired boxer Paulie Malignaggi.
All told that there was no shortage of action from the weekend, but what got passed grade and what did all the matches in Saturday do? Let's take a look at the Do degree.
Artem Lobov was never a top 1
It led to the main event at BKFC 6 which Lobov squared out against former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi in the most talked about match this past weekend. The rivalry between Lobov and Malignaggi did not actually start between them. It began with McGregor, who saved Malignaggi a couple of times before the battle against Floyd Mayweather in 2017. The short relationship that training partners ended in hostility with McGregor, claiming he was better off Malignaggi and retired boxer transformed the Showtime analyst says that It was all a web of lies.
With McGregor under contract to the UFC, there was no way Malignaggi would ever get that fight, but instead turned to Lobov in a childhood boxing battle. It was expected that Malignagi's boxing skills would be too much for a brawler such as Lobov, whose best defense in previous games seemed to be his ability to eat and continue.
Over five rounds Malignaggi tried desperately to out Lobov but his feints and hand speed didn't do much damage. On the other hand, Lobov constantly lobbied him around the ring, and he even caught Malignaggi in a latch that ravaged New York natives with several gashes on his face, including a splitting hole just above his right eye.
When it was completely over, Lobov earned a unanimous decision-winner – a result almost no one foresees – and he closed the door to rivalry with Malignaggi once and for all. For a guy who was hardly a .500 fighter in mixed martial arts, Lobov has apparently found his niche in bare-bones with much more attention to him now than ever before.
After a shocking last second outfall in his last match for Yair Rodriguez, "The Korean Zombie" returned Chan Sung Jung this last Saturday night and did short work by Renato Moicano in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Greenville.
For a long time, Jung has been considered one of the most exciting warriors on the entire UFC roster – his seven post-war bonuses back – but he's also threatening to become a serious competitor in the Springweight Division. Unfortunately, Jung has had his career tracked twice in recent years with mandatory military service in his original South Korea and then blew his knee in his first fight back in 2017.
The winner of Moicano put Jung back in battle and he quickly called for another fight that would put him closer to any title shot. Things about Jung that make him such a threat are not just a legitimate set of skills that give him a chance to beat anyone in the Springweight Division, but a crooked, appealing style that always lands him awning matchups.
He is like Tony Ferguson or Donald "Cowboy" Cerron of Featherweight – winning, losing or drawing, you know it will be entertaining to watch.
With Max Holloway tied together with Frankie Edgar in July and then presumably the winner marched on face Alexander Volkanovski, Jung can easily inject himself into several interesting matchups to solidify his place as No. 1 participant in 2020.
PROSPECTIVE No more
Rafael Lovato Jr. deserved his shot at the middle weight in Bellator, though hardly believed he would actually win it. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was unbeaten in his career, but his victories in Bellator did not impress the opponents gold standard.
Instead, Lovato took five straight wins at Bellator in battles where he was presumably winning before being thrown into the fire against a veteran such as Gegard Mousasi, who could easily fence a claim as the best fighter in the world at 185 pound. Over the course of five rounds, Lovato certainly had his hands full, but he showed a strong basic play combined with enough striking that kept Mousasi out of balance over all five rounds.
It was definitely a close match, but eventually Lovato earned a majority decision to become a Bellator middleweight champion. Lovato may not be celebrating too much, because it is quite possible that he is facing Mousasi in a rematch after such a dubious stroke, but does not make mistakes, his feat in the past weekend turned out to be absolutely a legitimate threat against anyone and everyone in the middleweight department.
It seems that so long ago that any sport was actually tape delayed for broadcasts that took place abroad with the primary audience in the United States. The UFC ran into the headache when they just started with Spike TV while holding cards in international places like England, but over time they understood that moving nothing alive was just a disaster waiting to happen with results that Comes out not to mention bootleg-flowing popping up everywhere.
Unfortunately, Bellator MMA does not seem to find out the best way to send a card when traveling abroad, especially with shows in England and / or Ireland.
This past weekend was a scary disaster with a series of battles that aired on the Bellator app, including the three combat cards motherboards that included the Mousasi vs Lovato title fight. Then the rest of the highlighted games, including Paul Daley, who went out with Erick Silva, were delayed and sent later that night on both Paramount Network and DAZN.
Now it is not uncommon to share a broadcast between two outlets, but then when you throw in short-delayed cards in the middle of everything it just gets confusing.
It is unclear why Bellator is still struggling with these broadcasts when they go abroad, but you can imagine they would have found out now. Hopefully it will be corrected in the future because Bellator has made some big battles in places like England and Ireland before, it's just too bad, almost no one in the United States knows when or how to see them.
No battle in the hat
Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi retired from boxing in 2017, but he has seen his name in the headlines non-stop for the last two years thanks to a 12-round sparring session against UFC superstar Conor McGregor. While short clips have been shown by this sparring session with some pictures, there were few people in the gym at that time between McGregor and Malignaggi.
The controversy that came with this sparring session eventually led to the cracked boxing match between Malignaggi and Lobov this past Saturday night. In the lead of the fight, Malignaggi struck Lobov, spat on him, and promised to do serious bodily harm to him when they finally started throwing hands.
The result was hardly what was promised, even though Malignaggi was not so bad when he tried to get into the Lobov box in five rounds. In fact, by boxing standards, Malignaggi actually had a solid night when he used a lead jab and good head movement to frustrate Lobov for the majority of the fight. Unfortunately, it was not enough to get the job done in a baroque race, while Lobov struck up with the retired boxer of the few battles he landed, including a giant gash that opened up over Malignaggi's right eye.
When it was over, Lobov and Malignaggi actually hugged it and even became loud at the end of the post conference press conference. Of course, Malignaggi complained about the decision while he felt he was doing enough to win, but ultimately he paid Lobov a tribute to a job well done while showing respect for the former UFC fighter.
With that, Malignaggi said that his fighting career has ended and he returns to the broadcast booth where he is actually a very good analyst for Showtime Boxing. This will hopefully also close the door, where whatever strange rivalry was built between Malignaggi and McGregor, not to mention the rest of mixed martial arts.
Malignaggi was surplus food for the better part of two years because he was constantly skating on McGregor, and the former two division champion did his part to keep the rivalry alive with his verbal jabs and burning responses. Nevertheless, the culmination of the rivalry was a huge battles between Malignaggi and McGregor's teammate, and while it may not speak New York's native now that it is over, the rest of us can hopefully move on to more urgent cases.
So when exactly is this Justin Bieber vs. Tom Cruise match happening?