Sunday 11 December 2016

Conor McGregor's main training partner Artem Lobov suffers defeat in TUF finale

Published 12/12/2015 | 12:56

Ryan Hall celebrates his victory over Artem Lobov
Ryan Hall celebrates his victory over Artem Lobov

It was a disappointing start to the weekend for the for John Kavanagh's Straight Blast Gym in Las Vegas last night.

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Given everything that's happening this week last night's The Ultimate Fighter Finale wasn’t a big deal. You could even argue the biggest event yesterday was the UFC 194 weigh-in.

However, it was important for a number of fighters. There were a few big winners who will go on to grander events in 2016.

Probably the biggest winner was Artem Lobov. The SBG fighter is Conor McGregor's main training partner and has journeyed around the European MMA circuit for a number of years.

His willingness to take fights anywhere, anytime with anyone served him well from an activity point of view but meant he racked up a so-so fighting record.

Heading into the TUF 22 Final against American Ryan Hall Lobov's record showed 11 wins and 9 losses; not usually good enough to make the UFC grade.

His journey to the TUF final was a circuitous route. With Conor installed as one of the head coaches, Artem had to fight for the right to represent Team Europe. He lost and it looked like the only way he'd be taking part in the 22nd series of The Ultimate Fighter was as a coach himself.

In a break from tradition UFC president Dana White announced that the coaches could bring back a fighter that had lost in the qualifying round. Naturally, Conor choose Artem as he made no secret of the fact that his was mainly involved to support his buddy. In time, Conor became deeply involved with all the European fighters but Artem was his initial reason.

Lobov proceeded to KO three Team US fighters during the series en route to the final, impressing the UFC brass along the way.

Though he lost to the jiu jitsu wizard in Hall, Artem will more than likely fight a few more times in the UFC in 2016.

Lobov is quick to admit that his role on the TUF 22 was only extended because of his association with Conor. But after that he walked his own path. When opportunity knocked the Russian-Irishman answered and carved out a shot at a UFC career that he probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

Edgar next for featherweight champ

Frankie Edgar put himself in the #1 contender spot by knocking out Chad Mendes. Jose Aldo needed all five rounds last time he fought Mendes and McGregor took some punishment off the tough wrestler before finishing him in the second.

Edgar will be cage side tonight to see who he challenges for the featherweight title. The only spanner could be an immediate rematch between Aldo and McGregor.

The other big winner was Tony Ferguson who finished an always tough Edson Barboza with a d’arce choke in the second round. Ferguson has put himself very much in the shop window to challenge for the lightweight title. He could possible meet the winner of Donald Cerrone and Rafael Dos Anjos who fight for the belt next weekend.

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