Despite being a prohibitive underdog to No. 4-ranked featherweight Cub Swanson, unranked Artem Lobov gave a stellar effort for 25 minutes in the UFC Fight Night main event at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville before losing a unanimous decision in a competitive five-rounder.
Scores were 50-45 and 49-46 twice.
“It’s a fight,” Swanson said. “It’s my 21st fight in the UFC / WEC, so I’m running out of opponents. You’ve got guys like this who are willing to call me out and test themselves, so I’m in a position now where I’m a veteran and I’ve got to fight these guys. I knew he was going to step up to the plate and it was a helluva fight.”
Lobov surprised Swanson with a takedown a minute into the fight, but “The Russian Hammer” wasn’t able to keep his opponent there long. For the remainder of the round, the two kept it standing, with both getting in their fair share of shots in a competitive frame.
Swanson scored with a hard kick to the head to open round two, but Lobov took it well and fired back. With under two minutes left, Swanson broke up a clinch with a takedown, and he quickly took Lobov’s back with plenty of time to work for a finish. But Lobov rose to his feet and got free just before the end of the frame.
Beginning to put his foot on the gas, Swanson picked at Lobov with a variety of strikes in round three, cutting his foe on the left eyelid and wobbling him with a wheel kick to the head. Lobov continued to land, particularly with his jab, but Swanson was in an offensive groove for the first time in the fight.
Unbothered by the cut, Lobov went on the attack to begin round four, but Swanson responded midway through the round with a spinning back elbow that got his foe’s attention. The iron-chinned Lobov wasn’t going anywhere though, and he continued battling the California native tooth and nail.
Fatigue had set in for both men by the time round five arrived, but Swanson had a little more in the tank, as evidenced by more flush shots and a thudding takedown followed by ground strikes in the final minute.
With the win, Swanson moves to 25-7; Lobov falls to 14-13-1 with 1 NC.