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Dublin: 5°C Friday 5 March 2021

First blood to Team McGregor as Lobov dominates Diaz's team-mate Avila

It was third-time-lucky for the Russian-born Dubliner as he picked up his first win in the UFC.

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 18.00.59 Artem Lobov

– Paul Dollery reports from Las Vegas

ARTEM LOBOV IS off the mark in the UFC at the third time of asking.

Lobov (12-12-1-1) scored a unanimous-decision victory over Chris Avila (5-3) tonight on the preliminary card at UFC 202 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The win should salvage Lobov’s place on the UFC roster, having fallen short in his previous two bouts for the promotion at the hands of Ryan Hall and Alex White.

It also got SBG Ireland off to a positive start on the pay-per-view bill, with Lobov — a team-mate of Conor McGregor’s — getting the better of a colleague of Nate Diaz’s. Diaz and McGregor meet in tonight’s main event.

For Avila, the UFC debut came too soon. The 23-year-old Californian looked out of his depth against his Russian-born opponent, who’s now based in Dublin.

Lobov was backing Avila up against the fence from the outset, and the 30-year-old ‘Russian Hammer’ consistently had success with leg kicks, which left a considerable mark on Avila’s left thigh.

Although Avila occasionally found a way through thanks to his reach advantage, Lobov landed shots with far more ease — including a second-round ‘Stockton Slap’, a signature Team Diaz move.

Lobov was cut above his right eye in the third round as a result of a clash of heads, and he also had a nervy moment after a slip. However, Avila was unable to make the most of top position and Lobov was soon back to his feet.

“To get this win feels incredible,” said Lobov. “It was the first win of my UFC career and it was a must-win. This week has been a lot about SBG against Stockton so to get the first win was absolutely necessary.

“I got the first win and Conor will get the second later tonight. These guys did some dirty and unprofessional things throughout the week, but we will get the wins tonight when it really matters.

“I don’t feel this win was impressive enough to call anyone out, so I’ll take whatever fight is next. When I get back to knocking people out, I’ll start calling people out.”

Avila said: “He just kept kicking me and won the fight. No surprises with him, I’m just not satisfied with losing a decision to someone I know that I’m better than.

“I want to get back out there and get a win. It was cool to be in the octagon for the first time. I felt at home, like I’ve always been there. I’ll be back soon.”

All the results from tonight’s UFC 202: Diaz v McGregor card

The UFC just announced they’re returning to Ireland this year

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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