Artem Lobov vs Teruto Ishihara booked for UFC Belfast

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As revealed by the Irish Daily Mirror this morning, Artem Lobov will take on Japanese sensation Teruto Ishihara at UFC Belfast on November 19 at the SSE Arena.

Speaking to Petesy Carroll, Lobov insisted he was looking forward to competing in the Octagon without the strain of travelling to Las Vegas.

“I’ve been fighting in Vegas a lot since signing for UFC and that’s a long trip away,” said Lobov. “It was fine for the last fight because Conor had us all out there earlier, but normally you arrive on Tuesday and fight on Saturday.

“It’s about time they came over to us. Let’s bring these guys over here and see how they feel.”

A key training partner of McGregor’s, despite competing a week apart and in a different continent to ‘The Notorious’, Lobov is looking forward to preparing alongside the featherweight champion as usual.

“I’d say he’s going to prepare at home because New York isn’t as far away as Vegas, in terms of climate it’s similar to Ireland as well. He’ll be preparing at home and I’ll be doing my camp here too.”

‘The Russian Hammer’ is excited to get ready alongside Gunnar Nelson too, who he claims will come over to SBG to undergo his last five weeks of preparation before his UFC Belfast main event.

“Gunni is coming over here five weeks before the fight and Conor will be preparing for Alvarez. It’s going to be great. It will be like old times with us training alongside each other at home for a fight.

“I really love that atmosphere. When we all fights at the same time it’s always a great preparation because everyone helps each other and we share different ideas we have for training.”

Teruto Ishihara has captivated the fan base of the sport with his outlandish post-fight interviews in which he has dedicated his last two wins to his “bitches”.

His endearing broken English declarations along with his two consecutive knockouts have made people take notice of him, but Lobov insisted that all he is focused on is his performance, rather than the antics of Ishihara.

“The guy comes to fight. He has a great style for me. He’s wide open. We share a knockout win over Julian Erosa. I’m looking at how this guy fights and nothing else.

“I don’t care who he is or what he’s about. In the UFC you just have to win. Winning is more beneficial financially and gives you more opportunities. It doesn’t matter who I fight because all I care about is getting the win.”

Lobov did his best to compel the masses to his fight against Chris Avila at UFC 202, but the Diaz training partner really never got into the back and forth to help create a buzz for the fight.

Ishihara usually brings a lot of eyeballs to his fights, but Lobov believes the fact that he will be fighting at home will do enough to drum up interest in the featherweight showdown.

“With me fighting at home there will be a lot of eyes on the fight anyway. As a fighter I don’t think you should worry about generating interest, you should just focus on performing well. I just worry about knocking people out and the rest will take car of itself.

“If you perform well the publicity will come and people will talk about it. When people talk about me I want them to talk about me knocking other people out.”

Finally, Lobov congratulated Sean Shelby on making the fight, insisting that the meeting has knockout written all over it.

“Well done to Sean Shelby because I really feel this is a great matchup. This is why he is the greatest matchmaker in the world. It’s going to be a great fight. I think the fans are going to really enjoy it.

“I can’t see this one going the distance. He’s just too open. He’s a southpaw as well and I have a lot of experience against southpaws. I feel like I’ll be able to catch this guy.”

Tickets are still available for UFC Belfast

@PetesyCarroll

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.