Former UFC veteran Artem Lobov defeated former UFC veteran and Mississippi native Jason Knight by unanimous decision (48-47 X 2, 48-46) to win the main event of "BKFC 5: Lobov vs. Knight" in a Fight of The Year candidate on Saturday night at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Miss. and live on pay-per-view.
Knight started off fast, knocking down Lobov just 10 seconds in to round one.
However, Lobov quickly popped up and came back to knock down Knight later in the first frame, again in round two, and for a third time in round three. The fourth and fifth stanzas showcased furious exchanges with both fighters leaving every ounce of themselves in the ring.
"I thought he was conquered many times," said Lobov. "I dropped him three or four times. He's a tough, tough kid. He kept coming and coming. That was a great fight."
"We all know that I didn't lose that fight," said Knight. "We all know that I got robbed. It's alright, I'm still going to party tonight."
The co-main event featured former UFC veteran Chris Leben quickly overwhelming former Bellator standout Justin Baesman with a devastating left hand, followed by a series of uppercuts that stopped Baesman just :25 in to the light heavyweight contest.
Christine Ferea scored a technical stoppage win over Britain Hart for the Police Gazette American Women's Featherweight Bare Knuckle Championship. Ferea had Hart in trouble midway through the second round as referee Dan Miragliotta called for time to have Hart's severely bloodied and bruised left eye checked. The ringside physician stopped the contest moments later at 1:09 in to the second round.
"I'm the first woman to ever have this belt," said Ferea. "I'm going to rep it strong and I'm super happy right now. The first round I was feeling (Hart) out. I was watching some of her footage and she can do it all. So, I just felt out the first round, touching her with the jab. And then the second round that's when I went in and let my power go.
"I would love (a fight against Bec Rawlings)!" added Ferea. "I've been asking for a fight with her for three fights. I think I deserve it."
Former BKFC heavyweight title challenger Sam Shewmaker and former UFC veteran Chase Sherman fought to a split draw (50-45 Sherman, 48-47 Shewmaker, 48-48) in a crowd-pleasing heavyweight attraction that featured spirited exchanges all the way until the final bell of the fifth round.
One BKFC lightweight tournament semi-final matchup saw Reggie Barnett defeat Rusty Crowder by unanimous decision (50-44 X 3). An extremely evasive Crowder was deducted one point in the fourth round for throwing Barnett to the canvas as Barnett cruised to the victory by a wide margin.
After his win, Barnett said, "Everybody expected me and Bedford to be fighting in the championship. Johnny comes to fight. I come to fight. So, you're going to see nothing but fireworks and I personally think it's a main event-caliber championship fight."
In the other BKFC lightweight tournament semi-final contest Johnny Bedford stopped Abdiel Velazquez :58 in to round four. Bedford scored two knockdowns in the second round, a third in the third frame and sent Velazquez to the canvas for the fourth and final time in round four, with Velazquez electing to not get back up and continue.
Before Barnett and Crowder fought, Bedford prophesied, "I anticipate I'm going to fight Reggie Barnett in the finals. I thought that from the beginning. I think Reggie knew that from the very beginning. And I think Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship knew that from the very beginning by putting us on opposite ends of the bracket. I think it doesn't matter who you name the number one and number two seeds, we are the two top dogs in this division."
With Barnett and Bedford winning their respective BKFC lightweight tournament semi-final bouts they will now face each other in the finals for a chance at BKFC's first lightweight championship title.
In undercard action, former UFC fighter Isaac Vallie-Flagg scored a technical knockout victory over Randy Hedderick in a 165-pound showdown. Vallie-Flagg recorded two knockdowns in the third round and forced Hedderick to quit 1:22 in to round three due to an injured left hand.
The swing bout saw Gulfport police officer Harris Stephenson defeat Khalib Harris by split decision (50-47 Stephenson, 48-47 Harris, 49-46 Stephenson).