Artem Lobov, who makes his second Octagon start this Saturday on UFC FIGHT PASS against Alex White, is a realist. As such, he’s not one for moral victories or flowery descriptions of the lessons he took away from his loss to Ryan Hall in the Ultimate Fighter 22 finale last December. He’s just happy he got paid.
“I was really surprised that the UFC pays for those kinds of boring fights,” Lobov said. “I probably wouldn’t pay myself for that fight, but that was really nice. At the end, when it’s all said and done, you still have to eat and it was really nice to get the check.”
Lobov may only be half-joking or not joking at all. That mystery applies to the bout against Hall as well, one which resembled a grappling match more than a fight. Of course, you can’t knock Hall for having a great game plan and sticking to it, but Lobov is still at a loss when it comes to describing the three-rounder.
“I don’t know what it was, to be honest,” he said. “A cuddle, I don’t know what it was. It’s definitely very frustrating for anyone, but especially for me. I love to be in exciting fights and I was looking forward to that finale very much, so I was hoping for a memorable moment, something like Stephan Bonnar versus Forrest Griffin back in the day. When that didn’t happen, instead I got the most boring fight ever in the Ultimate Fighter finale. That was very frustrating.”
For the Dublin-based knockout artist, it wasn’t what he expected from his long-awaited UFC debut. A dues-paying member of the School of Hard Knocks, Lobov’s record of 12-11-1 with 1 NC doesn’t reflect the talent the 29-year-old possesses, and after losing the decision to Hall, there is still that feeling that we haven’t seen what he can do yet, and he agrees. Then again, Lobov is unlikely to see someone like Hall anytime soon.
“Ryan is a very, very unique opponent,” Lobov said. “There is not any other guy like him in the UFC. He probably has the best jiu-jitsu in the division, and some of the best in the UFC as well. When you approach him, trying to take him down or trying to step toward him, he just falls to his back. No other fighter ever does that, so I think my fight this Saturday is going to be a lot more standard and I know really, really well how to deal with those type of opponents, because I’ve had so many fights.”
But did Hall lay out the blueprint on how to beat “The Russian Hammer”? Lobov doesn’t think so.
“I don’t think anyone else can really do that,” he said. “The guy invented the 50-50 position, and that’s his bread and butter. So I don’t think anyone else can do what he did. And now, having been there, I have a better idea how to deal with that. Practice makes perfect and it was really hard to practice against an opponent like Ryan because no one else does that. So now that I’ve been in there with him, I think I would do a lot better.”
And if there is a silver lining to the bout, Lobov did go 15 minutes without getting submitted. There isn’t a strong likelihood of a sub in Saturday’s bout with White, an up-and-comer the Russia native won’t have to look for once the Octagon door shuts. And if that’s indeed the case, Artem Lobov expects an early night.
“I fought so many times in my life with very difficult opponents all the time and I already fought a very similar fighter to Alex in Martin Svensson,” he said. “He was with me on The Ultimate Fighter, he’s also southpaw, he’s also tall, and I knocked him out in the second round. So I honestly see that this fight is going to be very similar to that one. I see myself knocking Alex out. Probably in the first round, possibly the second.”