Artem Lobov wasn’t able to cause a seismic division shaking upset at UFC Fight Night 108 in Nashville on Saturday night, but ‘The Russian Hammer’ acquitted himself admirably over the course of five enthralling rounds with Cub Swanson to send his stock soaring in spite of defeat.
Lobov made a very positive start, mixing his striking attacks beautifully. His left-hand found both the head and body of Swanson in the opening round. He also made good use of leg kicks, something which he abandoned in later sessions, and even executed a takedown over the course of a successful first five minutes.
On the Pundit Arena scorecard, the SBG Ireland representative did enough to take the first stanza.
Lobov made a strong start to the second as well, but towards the end of the round the 30-year-old veteran found himself in serious bother with Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Swanson on his back. Defending the subsequent attack seemed to take it out of Lobov, who appeared arm-weary towards the end of the second and into the following round. The Dublin-based featherweight was still landing his left-hand with some regularity early in the third, but the snap apparent in his first-round shots had all-but disappeared.
This allowed Swanson to start opening up.
Midway through the third, the American landed a beautiful wheel kick that wobbled Lobov. The shot would have downed most 145-pounders but the tough-chinned TUF 22 alumni stayed upright. A straight right hand stiffened Artem’s legs with seconds to go in the stanza, but he somehow rebounded to score a late takedown. It wasn’t enough to sway the round in his favour, however.
Swanson continued to have the better of things in the fourth, hurting Lobov with a spinning back-elbow and he stiffened Artem’s legs with a more basic but equally effective right hand shot later in the round. The Jackson-Wink fighter closed the show with another convincing showing in the fifth, a spectacular judo throw putting a stamp on his performance.
Though it was a convincing win for Swanson in the end – the judges scored the bout 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45 in favour of the 33-year-old – the MMA Twittersphere was overflowing with praise for Lobov. Considering the fact that the Russian had wandered into the fight rated from the outskirts of the the top-15 and yet managed to give the featherweight division’s fourth-ranked fighter a real scrap, this was an understandable reaction.
— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) April 23, 2017
I wanna be like @RusHammerMMA when I grow up.
— chris fields (@chrisfieldsmma) April 23, 2017
Great fight from Cub Swanson but story is Lobov shocking the world w/ a performance that no one who watched will ever forget. #UFCNashville
— Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden) April 23, 2017
Decent fight. Lobov isn't a bad fighter, just limited. But he fought up to that limit very admirably. Hat tip to both.
— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) April 23, 2017
Cub won handily, but mad props to Lobov for going five and performing way above expectations. #UFCNashville
— The Spartan (@EliasTheodorou) April 23, 2017
Artem Lobov might be closer to Jake Shields than Conor McGregor as a striker, but Shields is damn good and rarely hurt on the feet.
— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) April 23, 2017
Official: Cub Swanson's 209 significant strikes landed are a new single-fight UFC/WEC featherweight record. #UFCNashville
— Michael Carroll (@MJCflipdascript) April 23, 2017
Lobov showed he can take a punch, but Swanson clearly was the better fighter . #UFCNashville
— Chris Clements (@menaceclements) April 23, 2017
I mean, that's essentially a win for Lobov, all things considered. You can question his skill, but hard to question his heart/durability.
— Dann Stupp (@DannStupp) April 23, 2017
Clear win for Swanson. Lobov gains some cred for lasting five rounds and giving some back. But one of those guys is just a better fighter.
— Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) April 23, 2017
Artem proved a lot of people wrong tonight. Cub was expected to walk through him. Do you think his stock has gone up after that performance?
— Peter Carroll (@PetesyCarroll) April 23, 2017
Very fun five-rounder, reminiscent of Cub's win over Jeremy Stephens, which was also a blast. I want more Swanson main events.
— Connor Ruebusch (@BoxingBusch) April 23, 2017
— Robin Black (@robinblackmma) April 23, 2017
After the fight, Swanson, who has won four in a row, called out the winner of the UFC featherweight title unification bout between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway, which is scheduled to take place on June 3rd at UFC 212.