Artem Lobov Gets Awesome Opponent for UFC Belfast

By Tom Taylor - September 30, 2016

Artem Lobov may have been born in Russia, but he is very much an Irishman. As such, the hard-hitting Conor McGregor training partner has been added to the lineup for the UFC’s November 19 return to Belfast, Ireland, where he will take on Japanese fan favorite Teruto “Yashabo” Ishihara. This exciting featherweight showdown was revealed by Petesy Carroll of the Irish Daily Mirror.

Artem Lobov

Artem Lobov with Russian and Irish Flags

Lobov, who was the runner-up on season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter, is 12-12-1 overall–a record that is hardly indicative of his skill. The Russian-born Irishman made his UFC debut in December of 2105, coming up short in the show’s finale opposite decorated grappler Ryan Hall. Lobov then faltered again his next bout, giving up a decision to Alex White in February. In his most recent bout, which occurred on the undercard of the Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz helmed UFC 202, Lobov finally got his first UFC win, taking a decision from Nate Diaz training partner Chris Avila.

Ishihara (9-2-2), meanwhile, entered mainstream consciousness as a cast member on Road to UFC: Japan, a show not unlike TUF. Ishihara would make it all the way to the show’s finals, where he would battle Mizuto Hirota to a split draw, which resulted in both men’s being awarded UFC contracts.

Since his time on the show, Ishihara has gone 2-0 in the UFC, scoring thunderous knockout wins over Julian Erosa and Horacio Gutiérrez. The Japanese fighter, who has relocated to train amongst the monsters at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, has become a fan favorite with his constant girl-chasing and love for “bitches” – apparently his sole motivation for fighting.

In advance of this newly announced featherweight showdown, Lobov spoke with Carroll and the Irish Mirror (via SevereMMA), weighing in on his upcoming opponent.

Artem Lobov Stalks Chris Avila

While Lobov admitted he’s a fan of Ishihara’s fighting style, he also assured that he doesn’t care about the Japanese fighters endearing love for the ladies.

“The guy comes to fight,” Lobov told Carrol. “He has a great style for me. He’s wide open. We share a knockout win over Julian Erosa. I’m looking at how this guy fights and nothing else.”

“I don’t care who he is or what he’s about. In the UFC you just have to win. Winning is more beneficial financially and gives you more opportunities. It doesn’t matter who I fight because all I care about is getting the win.”

Lobov went on to commend UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby on booking this bout, and suggested that given his and Ishihara’s styles, there’s a high chance of a knockout.

“Well done to Sean Shelby because I really feel this is a great matchup,” Lobov continued. “This is why he is the greatest matchmaker in the world. It’s going to be a great fight. I think the fans are going to really enjoy it.”

“I can’t see this one going the distance. He’s just too open. He’s a southpaw as well and I have a lot of experience against southpaws. I feel like I’ll be able to catch this guy.”

We share Lobov’s enthusiasm over Sean Shelby’s dynamite matchmaking. What do you think of this newly announced featherweight showdown? Sound off, PENN nation!


Artem Lobov