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23rd Apr 2017

Conor McGregor pays tribute to valiant teammate as Artem Lobov gets outclassed in first UFC main event

'The Russian Hammer' earned plenty of new fans in defeat to Cub Swanson

Darragh Murphy

Plenty were expecting a short evening’s work for Cub Swanson on Saturday night.

The fourth-ranked featherweight in the world was matched up with the unranked Artem Lobov, the SBG product who had a 2-2 record with the UFC going into his first main event under the promotion’s banner.

Understandable accusations were made that Lobov was only given a headliner’s slot due to his close friendship with UFC superstar Conor McGregor and the presumed gulf in skill sets between ‘The Russian Hammer’ and his opponent resulted in fight fans predicting a stoppage victory for Swanson.

But while Swanson did claim a unanimous decision with little difficulty, Lobov won over plenty of cynical fans by proving that he could at least compete with such a talent.

Two judges gave one round to Lobov while the other saw all five in favour of Swanson, who could find himself in line for a title shot against the winner of the upcoming 145lbs title unification bout between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway.

“Fair play to Cub,” Lobov said after the fight. “He did a great job. I thought I could take him, and it wasn’t to be tonight. So I’ll just keep working and come back again.”

Lobov’s head coach, John Kavanagh, and main training partner, Conor McGregor, were unavailable to corner the 30-year-old but shortly after the scorecards were read out, both took to social media to pay tribute to a fallen teammate.