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Artem Lobov to make UFC return against Khabib Nurmagomedov's team-mate

The Dublin-based featherweight, who trains alongside Conor McGregor, will take on Zubaira Tukhugov.

Artem Lobov (right) hasn't fought since his defeat to Andre Fili in October 2017.
Artem Lobov (right) hasn't fought since his defeat to Andre Fili in October 2017.
Image: Imago/PA Images

ARTEM LOBOV WILL fight for the first time in over a year when he makes his return to UFC action on 27 October.

The organisation confirmed today that Lobov (13-14-1-1) will face fellow Russian featherweight Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4) at UFC Fight Night 138 in Moncton, Canada.

The fight will bring an added dimension to the developing rivalry between reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, who are due to clash in the headline bout at UFC 229 in Las Vegas on 6 October.

Tukhugov and Nurmagomedov are team-mates, while Lobov and McGregor are long-time friends and training partners at Dublin’s Straight Blast Gym.

The fight will be Lobov’s first since October 2017, when he suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Andre Fili in Poland. He was due to return against Alex Caceres in Brooklyn in April but the bout was cancelled in controversial circumstances.

Lobov was part of McGregor’s entourage when ‘The Notorious’ infamously attacked a bus carrying UFC fighters — including Nurmagomedov — just days before UFC 223. He was removed from the card by the organisation as a result of his involvement in the incident.

In spite of subsequent uncertainty over his future, Lobov will return in just under 10 weeks’ time against an opponent who will be competing for the first time since serving a two-year suspension. Tukhugov was banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for testing positive for the banned substance ostarine.

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The 27-year-old won his first three UFC bouts at the expense of Douglas Silva de Andrade, Ernest Chavez and Phillipe Nover. His first defeat under the organisation’s umbrella came via split decision in his most recent outing (May 2016) at the hands of Renato Moicano.

Having lost his last two fights — to Fili and Cub Swanson — Lobov’s place on the UFC roster could be at stake against Tukhugov. The 32-year-old is 2-4 in his six UFC bouts. He bounced back from defeats to Ryan Hall and Alex White by getting the better of Chris Avila and Teruto Ishihara.

UFC Fight Night 138 in Moncton is due to be headlined by a light-heavyweight bout between Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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