PAULIE MALIGNAGGI suffered a shock defeat to Artem Lobov in their Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship bout last night.
The American, 38, was expected to do the business in Florida but Lobov earned a unanimous points decision – just as he promised.
All of the judges scored the contest at 48-47 to the Russian, who has been a training partner of Conor McGregor’s, having given the opening two rounds to Malignaggi but the final three to Lobov.
There was plenty of bad blood between the two in the build-up to the bout with Malignaggi spitting on Lobov in a press conference.
But inside the ring, there was more respect as the two fighters went at it and the Russian Hammer came out on top.
Lobov said: “It was an emotional fight. As a result, I came in a little bit on the back foot more than usual but I still pressed, I was still stalking him. That’s a nice decision win for me.
“To me, there is many people out there that talk a lot of s*** and then they don’t show up. Paulie, he shows up.
“You can like him or hate him, but in terms of being a fighter, he showed up that time to the spar, both of them, and he showed up tonight to fight. So I always respect the fighter for that.”
Malignaggi – who has a professional boxing record of 36-8 – started the better of the two fighters but failed to make his added reach count until the second round.
He claimed he likely broke his hand in the second round – and it showed in the third.
Lobov, 32, was able to get into the fight and landed a huge left hand that sent his opponent reeling.
And the adopted Irishman – who made a name for himself in UFC – then took control of the fight in rounds four and five to earn the win.
Both men ended up with blooded faces – Malignaggi came off worse with a deep gash through his left eyebrow.
And the Magic Man could not hide his surprise at the result – but did admit that his bare knuckle boxing career was over so soon after it started.
Latest MMA news
He said: “Maybe just maybe this wasn’t meant to be. I’m 38 years old. I’m too old to start campaigning off of a loss. I would have done this again. I would have considered coming back. I’m done.
“I thought I was winning pretty easily. I felt I pretty much outboxed him the whole way. I’m pretty sure my right hand is broken.
“A lot of people in boxing told me you shouldn’t do this and you’re above this. Maybe I was wrong.”