Former UFC veteran Chris Leben will make his debut for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) and shared his thoughts on joining the organization, in addition to previewing his showdown against Bellator standout Justin Baesman that is featured on “BKFC 5: Lobov vs. Knight” Saturday, April 6 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi and live on pay-per-view.
“This is the fifth BKFC event and they’re really picking up momentum,” said Leben. “Word is getting out and everyone is starting to find out about BKFC. I’m glad to be a part of it. I wish I had been with them from the beginning, but I’m just happy to be on-board now.”
Leben has been training at The Arena gym in San Diego, California for over 10 weeks, spending the first four weeks getting into peak shape and then holding a typical training camp for the remaining eight weeks leading up to the fight.
“I’m really embracing training camp at this point in my career,” said Leben. “Every fight is the most important fight of my career. I’m not looking past anyone. I’m focused on April 6 and if everything goes well, I look forward to competing in BKFC for a while.”
While Leben is making his BKFC debut, he previously competed in a bare knuckle fight in November 2018, scoring a first-round knockout victory.
“Bare knuckle is very different from boxing. You can’t stand and take punches in bare knuckle,” added Leben. “You have to use more finesse. I’m focused on my footwork and using my angles to pick my spot wisely.
“I’m known for hitting hard and I know that my power is still there. It’s really just focusing on my movement. I’m always watching the different styles and angles of various fighters because I’m looking for my next setup or new ways that guys are moving. I’m a much better fighter now than when I was fighting in MMA.”
Leben will be opposed by Susanville, California’s Baesman, a veteran of the fight game who has competed for numerous MMA organizations, including a two-year run with Bellator in which he defeated John Mercurio. The 37-year-old will be making his bare knuckle debut on April 6.
“Baesman is a northern California guy who I’ve watched train before,” said Leben. “He’s fought a lot of tough fighters and he’s known for slugfests. He can take damage and is dangerous all the way until the end. I know he’s training like he never has before, so I’m taking him very seriously.”
For Leben to make a statement in his BKFC debut, he knows the mentality he brings into the ring will be vital.
“The key for me is to not get cocky or do anything stupid,” said Leben. “I can’t go in there trying to overextend myself and get things done too quickly. We’re going to go out there as if we’re fighting the champion. I don’t need to try to finish him in the first 30 seconds.
“Nobody has ever called me a boring fighter. I’m going to push the pace and tempo, but do it intelligently.”
“BKFC 5: Lobov vs. Knight” will be broadcast across the United States and Canada, exclusively on pay-per-view through MultiVision Media, Inc., on all major television distribution outlets for $29.95. It will also be available worldwide via stream to all in-home and out-of-home connected devices at FITE-TV and www.bareknuckle.tv.
Tickets for “BKFC 5: Lobov vs. Knight” are available now exclusively at www.bareknuckle.tv beginning at $35.
The event is headlined by former UFC standout and Conor McGregor stablemate Artem Lobov making his BKFC debut when he takes on Mississippi native and former UFC fighter Jason Knight. Also featured is Mississippi native Chase Sherman taking on BKFC fan-favorite and former BKFC heavyweight title challenger Sam Shewmaker in a heavyweight attraction.