On Saturday afternoon (Saturday night in Europe), the UFC returned to Belfast, Northern Ireland for the first time since UFC 72, all the way back in June of 2007. They did so with UFC Fight Night 99. While the highlight of the card was undeniably Gegard Mousasi’s score settling destruction of former foil Uriah Hall, no fighter’s performance generated as big a fan response as Russian-born Irishman Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov’s.
Lobov appeared on the Belfast undercard opposite Japanese fan favorite Teruto Ishihara. Though Ishihara was not without his moments in the bout, the end result was a sound unanimous decision win for Lobov, who was the sharper, more aggressive man on the feet through the majority of the fight. The Belfast crowd went absolutely wild as the Russian’s decision victory was announced. They went even wilder when Irish star Conor McGregor, who recently made UFC history as the first fighter to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously, joined Lobov inside the Octagon.
Lobov and McGregor, of course, are long-time friends and training partners at SBG in Dublin, Ireland. Given their connection, McGregor was visibly thrilled to witness Lobov’s success. Watch the two fighters’ in-cage celebration at the top of this post.
With his defeat of Ishihara, Lobov embarks on a two-fight win-streak, having defeated Chris Avila in his second most recent bout. Considering the Russian began his UFC career with two straight losses to Ryan Hall and Alex White, his current run has got to feel pretty good. He’s now 13-12-1 overall.
McGregor, meanwhile, was last seen in the main event of UFC 205, when he scored a second round knockout of Eddie Alvarez to make his history. Now the king of the featherweight and lightweight divisions, McGregor has a laundry list of potential opponents at his fingertips, from Khabib Nurmagomedov, to Nate Diaz, to welterweight king Tyron Woodley. That said, the Irishman has plans to take some time off to father his first child.
Who would you like to see Lobov and McGregor fight next? Sound off, PENN Nation!