After a brief stint as a bare-knuckle fighter, Artem Lobov has been booked for a return to mixed martial arts competition.
Lobov, 34, spent his last three fights in the BKFC ring, picking up a pair of close decision wins over Jason Knight and Paulie Malignaggi before succumbing to strikes in a rematch with Knight in his third and final BKFC bout.
Now, the Russian star will return to mixed martial arts for a fight with Ylies Djiroun at ARENA FIGHT 2. The bout goes down on December 12 in Marsiglia, France, where MMA was recently legalized.
Lobov, who has a 14-15-1 overall record, competed in the UFC from 2015 to 2018. In that time, he amassed a 2-5 overall record, defeating Teruto Ishihara and Chris Avila, and coming up short to top talents in Ryan Hall, Alex White, Cub Swanson, Andre Fili, and lastly, Michael Johnson.
While Lobov is well known for his time in the UFC Octagon and the BKFC ring, his biggest claim to fame stems from his relationship with former two-division UFC champion and MMA mega star Conor McGregor. The pair have been training partners at SBG Ireland in Dublin since long before either man made it to the UFC, and remain close today.
News of Lobov’s fight with Djiroun follows a period of negotiation with several reputable promotions, both in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
“To be honest I was talking to a few promotions and I was talking about another bare-knuckle fight. I had some boxing offers, and I was talking to KSW the promotion in Poland,” Lobov told BJPENN.com in March. “It was getting close and we were about to finalize the fights then the virus hit and everything is on hold. Now, I just have to wait and see what happens. But, I was close to getting a fight done with KSW, so I want to fight ASAP.”
In Djiroun, Lobov will take on a fighter with a 17-6 overall record. The Frenchman is riding a decision win over Maxim Pugachev.
How do you think Artem Lobov will do in his MMA return?