When UFC 202 takes places on Saturday night, it won’t just be Ireland’s Conor McGregor against Stockton’s Nate Diaz — it will also be their training partners squaring off. McGregor’s longtime SBG gym mate Artem Lobov is fighting Diaz’s fellow 209 fighter, Chris Avila, during the prelims in Las Vegas on the same night.
For The Ultimate Fighter 22 runner-up Lobov – who has lost both his fights thus far in the UFC, including the Finale against Ryan Hall — it is likely his last chance to prove he belongs in the UFC. The 22-year old Avila, who trains with the Diaz brothers at Cesar Gracie’s, will be making his UFC debut.
And though there’s been a lot of sniping back and forth between Diaz and McGregor about the quality of their training partners, Lobov didn’t even know who Avila was until that war of words got rolling.
“No, I’d never heard of this guy before,” Lobov said during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “But, having said that, obviously they know that this is a war, that they know that this is going to be a big one. So if they have chosen him, he must have skill. They must feel that he can beat me, so I am not taking this lightly.”
Lobov (11-12) lost his last time out against Alex White at UFC Fight Night 82 in February, a decision that left him on the bubble to return. He even went so far as to put the feelings out for an opponent in Russia and had a fight lined up, should the UFC have cut him.
Yet matchmaker Sean Shelby kept him on, and Lobov said he believes that the booking had everything to do with the rivalry going on ….View full article
Source:: mma fighting